The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says it has a subsidy facility reduce the cost of providing household toilet facilities in a bid to reduce pressure on neighbourhood and public toilets.
This was announced by the Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Demedeme Naa Lenason
He reminded landlords that it is an offence not to provide these toilet facilities for households and that steps were being taking to ensure that recalcitrant landlords are made to face the full rigors of the law.
According to the 2000 Population and Housing Census more than 20% of Ghanaians do not have any form of latrines and therefore resort to open defecation which posses serious environmental and health threats to society.
Speaking recently at a media briefing in Accra on “Health Menace of Public Latrines” Mr. Lenason said that the 2000 census revealed that 31.45% of households in Ghana use public latrines as compared to 8.5% using Water Closet , 22% pit latrine, 6.9% KVIP , bucket or pan latrine 4% and with 6.9% attending nature’s call in other people’s houses.
“Enhancing access to adequate Environmental Sanitation is known to be associated with improved quality of human resource and poverty reduction through its impact on favorable health outcomes and increased productivity,” he said.
Mr. Lenason indicated that the Ministry’s Environmental Sanitation Policy of 1999 is unequivocal on households and public toilets; the policy states that at least 90% of a population should have access to acceptable domestic toilet while the remaining 10% has access to hygienic toilets.
According to him hygienic public toilets are provided for the transient population in all areas of intense public activities such as markets, shopping areas, transport terminals, etc but unfortunately most people in Ghana use it as their permanent places of convenience.
He said with the increasing pressure on these public toilet facilities it is common to see neighborhood toilets become full and overflowing which often leads to their closure , thus depriving the users this essential service.
“The facilities are often messy, smelling, unhygienic and dirty, users will then have no other option than to resort to other unacceptable options such as “free ranging” he added.
The Director indicated that his outfit has over the years pursued strategies aimed at minimizing the health impact of poor neighborhood public latrines and the wide gap that exist in the access to sanitation.
Some of these interventions includes increase in participation of the private sector in the management of existing public toilets, promoting better and modern technologies , de-emphasing neighborhood public toilets to force landlords to provide households toilets for tenants, rehabilitating and conversion of existing public toilets to more modern ones .
In addition his outfit is working to strengthen institutions that have responsibilities for the enforcement of sanitation laws and development control e.g Environmental Health, Development Control Units of the various MMDAs and also enforcing standards and conditions of franchise agreements for public toilets through effective monitoring.
Government and its development partners have made large investments in the water and sanitation sector with the aim of accelerating the provision of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in both rural and urban communities to enhance the achievement of the MDGs particularly goal 7 which aims at halving by 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation.
Currently close to 2.6 billion people worldwide lack sanitation facilities and most of them are children.
Source – Public Agenda, Accra