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19.12.2008 Feature Article

A performing country like Ghana yet still has open Sewerage system!

A performing country like Ghana yet still has open Sewerage system!
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Ghana has risen from the ashes and thanks to the efforts of various Governments who have held the fort through thick and thin. Kudos1 Regardless what one's perception might be about previous Governments they were all part of that transformation. However, Ghana still fall short of failing to continue with Prime Minister Busia initiative of have under sewerage system.

Ghana is matching into a performing country after the years of norming storming, forming and now performing. The current Governemnt is also accerating our development on a different slant. However, whilst many countries have realised the significance of proper sanitation and cleanliness Ghana is struggling in this area. In many parts of the world public toilets and sewerage disposal have been underestimated. Why do we still have open sewerage system in Ghana when this area have been visited before in the 1970's. This is embarrassment to our beloved country.

Ghana needs to perhaps appoint a Public Health Director who would responisble to co-ordinate all these activities under his role. How could Ghanaians dress up to church and funerals when we still filth outside our churches, polling stations, schools, hospitals etc? Surely, this is an area worth addressing by any given Government.

Another area of great concern is night soil. Thank goodness that the carrying of human waste on there heads known as night soil. Is now seen as unacceptable. However it may not be surprising that we still have such practice is some pockets of Ghana. As we aspire for greater things it would be worth addressing the basic necessities of life for everyone.

Many people who visit Ghana want to hang around the historic seaports, and enjoy the scenery along the sea however these areas are rather bleak and uninviting. What one sees instead are open gutters which becomes blocked with silt , human excreta, rubbish etc. There is an unwelcoming odour around those areas too. As I have mentioned in one of my articles whilst other countires are cashing in all along their sea sides and created jobs and other resorts in Africa and particularly in Ghana just few people along our coastal areas grasp these opportunties. The thoughts of job creation perhaps never occurs to those around living around these areas as to what measures is needed with help from NGO, Government and other agencies to transform areas into a money making machine.

It is hard to believe various Government have come but none addressing this problem head on. Would it be fair to say that we need proper toilet facilities at all tro tro stations, the Neo plan Stations or the State transport Stations. Why are our various Governments not addressing this head on since PM Busia? Don't they see this as a priority?

Do we wants to be classified as a third world country for ever? Come on! Ghana must stand up to this political hot potato. Our former Prime Minister, Dr Brefa Busia was started a project of a proper sewerage system at Accra Metropolitan Area (A.M.A)in the 1970's. This idea was promptly abandoned when the OAU asked Ghana to break diplomatic relations with Israel. All the Israeli engineers doing a marvellous job in Accra were sent packing. Meanwhile, Egypt that first asked for the diplomatic disruption, went ahead and restored diplomatic relations with
Israel. Ghana refused, Busia having sadly then been overthrown was by then unable to recalled them to complete the job.

Even though a report ( The Accra Sewerage Improvement Project) was delivered in 1996 recommending improvement to the networks due to the increasing level of diffuse pollution from septic system , 10 years later it is still just a plan. If we needed it in the 1970's; how much more now? Hence leaving this topical area of grave concern unfinished up till now is criminal. Just as we are blind to the sewers, so also to the need for public toilets.

Ghana now over 51 yet has a such issues? Whop are our target audience to Ghana.

Ghana must learn from these hard lessons and move on with the current trends, not expect the tourists or guests to come to Ghana and enjoy such filth. When it comes to sanitation issues it makes Ghanaians rather uncomfortable as it means we have a lot of explaining to do to justify why there is “the neglect.” Ghanaians must feel free to introduce people around their country just the same way one feels when one introduces guests into ones' home.

Even along the Keta Sea defence there is a new housing schemes built for those who lost their homes . However these homes have no toilets or kitchens and one wonder who was behind the planning ,design and implemantation of such a housing scheme. The inhabitants have no choice other than to use the sea as a place for conveniences. Please do check this out as it is happening as I write. Who is the Minster for this area/? It might be worth earmarking money for KVIP toilets at least.

Around the shores of our beautiful seas and beaches people are using still using these areas as toilets. Why is happening in our modern Ghana . What are the chiefs of these communities doing about this? Do they have any powers to procecute people in order to keep their beaches clean, and safe?

Another area of neglect , the A.M.A must have a daily routine cleaning mechanisms in place and not an adhoc one as we currently do. However, do not think that solving the sanitation problem is going to be easy.

Malaysia as well, once upon a time were embarrassed about its public toilet systems howeevr today a success story. A publication in News Track - Quirks, Feb. 9, 2007 at 11:33 AM highlights this “Toilets in Malaysia an embarrassment “

The Malaysia Government however, is dealing with the issue head on by planning to introduce college courses in lavatory management in an effort to improve the awful state of the country's toilets. The courses are part of a continuing "toilet revolution" in the Southeast Asian nation known for its pristine tropical beaches and modern skyscrapers, But unfortunately, public toilets in Malaysia are a turn-off for overseas tourists who find them dirty and disgusting. They also lack toilet paper and soap for washing hands. To improve the condition of its loos, Malaysia is instituting a text message hotline so substandard lavatories can be reported to authorities.

"Good, clean toilets are associated with good health, good manners, good upbringing, good housekeeping and civilisation," says Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak. "That is why the government feels this must be a national effort

Mercy Adede Bolus
Mercy Adede Bolus, © 2008

The author has 172 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: MercyAdedeBolus

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