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Ghana Loses $369m Annually To Poor Sanitation

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The Coalition of NGO’s in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), has revealed that poor sanitation and open defecation continues to rob Ghana of a whooping sum of $ 369 million annually.

According to the alliance, aside the multitude of lives lost to preventable diseases associated with the menace, the above sum is an extension of loss in foreign exchange which is garnered from tourism and other profitable ventures.

At a press briefing held in Accra, last Friday to commemorate the official launch of the National Sanitation Campaign (NSC), the Vice President of the Coalition, Mr. Attah Arhin said the adverse effects of poor sanitation “has dented Ghana’s self-esteem and dignity as a sovereign nation, otherwise respected in several respects.”

In respect to this and more, CONIWAS has called on government to pursue sustainable commitment and effective implementation of the NSC to ensure that all the measures which have been outlined do not remain mere intentions.

“Having witnessed such a colourful and well attended launch, we expect government to increase prioritisation and investment for implementation of this campaign and other sanitation related programs and projects,” Mr Arhin said.

CONIWAS’s Commitment

In ensuring that Ghana overcomes the bane of poor sanitation and its effects, CONIWAS has pledged to roll out a comprehensive programme that would monitor the implementation, track progress and make recommendations for improving the process.

According to Mr. Arhin, “the Coalition would undertake studies, issue fact sheets, and position papers and continue to remind government of its commitments and the social contract with Ghanaians, especially in the area of sanitation.”

Mr. Attah Arhin speaking to the media

“We encourage all our members international and local, to commit resources for sanitation improvements and make their respective capacities available to support this campaign and work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that we win this sanitation fight,” the vice president said.

Statistics

According to CONIWAS, only 15% of the Ghanaian population has access to improved sanitation which includes improved toilet facilities.

In his submissions, Mr Arhin revealed that while over 19 per cent of Ghanaians practice open defecation, 60 per cent of the population share latrines and over 58 per cent of solid waste is either crudely or indiscriminately disposed.

On the generation of plastic waste, 22,000 tons of plastic waste is produced annually.

“Sadly, only 2% of this waste is recycled. The other 21,560 tons find their way into drains, gutters, streets, and everywhere, often cogging sewage lines,” he said.

National Sanitation Campaign (NSC)

About a week ago, President Nana Akufo-Addo launched the NSC with a call on all Ghanaians to treat every day as sanitation day.

The campaign also saw the inauguration of the NSC Brigade which would enforce sanitation laws nationwide.

The campaign’s programmes would be run under the auspices of the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation.

Source: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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