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‘Public Toilet’ Fees Go Up   
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Recent increases in the cost of patronising public toilets have the potential to increase the 4.8 million Ghanaians that practice open defecation.

This is happening at a time when cholera outbreak in the Greater Accra Region has already claimed 14 lives, with 878 cases recorded as at Tuesday, July 29.

The awful sight of able-bodied men and women, as well as children busily defecating along some of the country’s beautiful beaches is a common sight in Accra.

The Finder’s investigations revealed that for patrons of public toilets using newsprints (newspapers), the price has risen from 20 to 30 pesewas while people who opt for toilet rolls now pay 40 pesewas, compared to 25 pesewas previously.

This is for Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pits (KVIP).

For water closet facilities, the price has been increased from GH₵50 to GH₵1 per attendance.

Managers of public toilets told The Finder that cesspit tankers have increased their charges from GH₵140 to GH₵190 recently.

According to them, this and other increases in the prices of other commodities such as toilet roll compelled them to pass on the increases to patrons.

The Finder’s visit to some suburbs of Accra such as Ofankor, Circle, Teshie and La revealed that most residents lack basic toilet facilities in their homes and therefore defecate at open places such as beaches, drains and bushes.

Yaw Sewanse, a 27-year-old resident of Ofankor Barrier, said: “We normally defecate in the bushes because we do not have toilet facilities in our homes.”

He said a water closet public toilet is under construction but since it is not yet completed they cannot use it.

Another resident of Ofankor Barrier, Florence Odonkor said during the night they defecate in black polythene bags and throw them in the bushes during the day.

Some residents complain about exorbitant charges they have to pay before patronising the public toilets while some also said they would rather defecate in open places than join long queues at the public toilets.

People who prefer open defecation say public toilets have become the source of all sorts of infections and bad scent.

At the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, a lady who spoke to The Finder on condition of anonymity confirmed that she normally pays GH₵1 every morning to patronise a water closet public toilet, but on days when she cannot afford to pay, she resorts to open defecation.

A World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) report released on April 17, 2012 indicates that 4.8 million Ghanaians practice open defecation.

According to the study, 4.8 million Ghanaians have no latrine at all and defecate in the open, and that the poorest quintile (20% of the population) is 22 times more likely to practice open defection than the richest.

Ghana loses $79 million annually as a result of open defecation, according to figures released by the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank in April 2012, making the country the fifth highest among 18 African countries analysed by the bank.

Currently, 19 out of every 100 Ghanaians openly defecate daily, either in the morning or evening, or both, bringing the total figure to about five million a day.

Currently, only 15 out of 100 Ghanaians have improved latrines, according to the Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) released recently.
Source: Finder

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