A cesspit containing unmeasurable amounts of excreta has been overflowing from the Ho Central Prison in the Volta region, into nearby communities within the area.
Residents are at risk of contracting communicable diseases as the prison’s cesspit continues to overflow.
The sludge of excrement also flows into gutters and drains to join streams of nearby waterbodies.
One resident explained that the fetid stench that comes from the sludge drives away clients from her saloon.
“Even my clients are complaining when they come to plait their hair because they can’t sit here, braid their hair while this [polluted] water is passing,” she said.
Another resident who is also a business owner said that he tries to retain his customers by explaining to them that the overpowering stench is coming from the nearby prison.
“Sometimes my customers will come and ask ‘What is smelling? What is smelling? I can’t stay here’ and I try to explain to them that this smell comes from the prison,” he said.
The Volta Regional Prisons Commander, Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Andrews Kwasi Dzokoto explained that the cesspit overflows comes from the overpopulated male yard of the Ho Central Prison.
He further disclosed that it constantly overflows because the sanitary facilities meant to cater to the inmates are too few for the prisoners serving time there.
The Ho Central Prison was originally built to accommodate 150 inmates but instead, it currently houses about 500 inmates.
The Volta Regional Commander said that his team frequently dislodge the cesspit weekly and sometimes bi-weekly in an attempt to try to handle the situation.
The cost of doing so breaks the bank. It costs them ¢6,500 each time they organise dislodgement.
“We have to do it about 13 trips to empty it. In a matter of a week or two, it gets full again and because we don’t have money to dislodge it [more] frequently, it overflows,” he said.
Due to lack of funds, they are unable to continue financing the frequent dislodging of the cesspit, to try to solve the problem.
DDP Andrews Kwasi Dzokoto appealed to the general public to help the prison raise funds to invest in a bio-digester toilet for his precinct.
“We are appealing for assistance to solve this problem. In solving that problem experts told me we need about ¢50,000 which we don’t have.
“So we are appealing to the general public. We are appealing to philanthropists and institutions to come to our aid,” he said.