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Poor Sanitation Is Desecrating Ghana’s Image…   
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Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases. This one of the rationales for the United Nations adopting ‘water and sanitation for all’ as SDG goal six.

Last week Friday, at the official launch of the National Sanitation Campaign (NSC), it was revealed that poor sanitation and open defecation continues to rob the nation of US$369million annually.

The Coalition of NGOs in Water and sanitation (CONIWAS) indicated that apart from the loss of lives due to preventable diseases associated with poor sanitation and water, the amount represents a loss of foreign exchange which is realised through tourism and other profitable ventures.

The statistics are frightening: only 15 percent of Ghanaians have access to improved sanitation which includes improved toilet facilities; and around 19 percent of Ghanaians practice open defecation, while a whopping 60 percent share a latrine.

Thus, if we are really to realise SDG 6 then the country has a lot of work to do in this respect; and hopefully, the launch of NSC will lead us inexorably toward that path. Our citizens’ attitude has not helped much either.

22,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated annually, while only 2 percent of this waste is recycled. Our drains and gutters are clogged with plastic waste – and this comes to bear when the rains come down heavily – flooding in many parts of the city then becomes apparent, with city officials running helter-skelter, looking for and trying to devise solutions.

The President launched the NSC recently, and inaugurated the NSC Brigade. Personnel of this outfit will conduct regular visits to all offices to ensure there is compliance, and where it so requires take legal action against those infringing the laws.

In the President’s desire of make Accra one of the cleanest cities in Africa, a lot of work – which includes changing the attitudes of Ghanaians – needs to be done in this regard. As an official of CONIWAS noted during the launch, the poor sanitation situation in our country today has dented our self-esteem and dignity…and we need to restore it by adopting good sanitation practices, like not littering where one is not supposed to; and this attitude of using gutters as disposal sites must change for the better.

We need to rally behind the NSC and ensure that we are all good ambassadors of health and sanitation.
Source: B&FT

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