Professor Mumuni Yakubu, a former Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Wednesday, proposed the development of a waste management protocol to enable the country to deal effectively with the sanitation problem.
He defined a protocol as a set of rules that everybody in a given community or society agrees to go by and noted that a national waste management protocol would enable people to understand the sanitation problem and also contribute to solving it.
Prof. Dakubu was speaking at the 16th Faculty of Science Colloquium on the theme: “The Management of our Environment for the Sustainability of our Livelihood,” an annual event that serves as an open forum for members of the Science Faculty to share information and views on their research activities.
He said it was important that as a country we have in place laws that could answer questions like where the individual puts his garbage, what happens if that is not done, who collects the garbage, how much does an individual pay for rubbish, can anyone just burn rubbish in a given community?
“Sanitation is a global as well as a local problem,” he said, and called for research into environmental issues to attempt identifying the causes and possible solutions to the environmental problems in Ghana.
Prof. Isabella Quakyi of the School of Public Health, who endorsed the proposal, said there was a real need for a national vision on sanitation which targeted households to enable individuals to become part of the solution to the environmental problems.
She said the lack of sanitation was an affront to human dignity adding that the lack of sanitation actually led to death.
“We have a horror sanitation situation in the country,” she said, and advising the public to adopt healthy environmental practices including developing a habit of proper hand-washing.
Prof. Quakyi also pointed out that six out of every 10 Africans were without access to proper toilet facilities which also caused a huge sanitation problem not only in Ghana but on the continent and added that access to proper toilet facilities could help reduce child mortality by 30 per cent.
Prof. Frederick Rodrigues, Dean of the Science Faculty, reminded students and members of the Department of President Kufuor's announcement during the University's 60th anniversary to set up an Institute of Environment and Sanitation studies to help deal with the sanitation problems pointing out that environmental issues were multi-disciplinary.
He admitted that the environment was undergoing rapid changes as a result of human activities including the problem of urbanization in Ghana and expressed the hope that the two-day colloquium would serve as a catalyst for the realization of a sound environmental management by everybody especially policy makers.