Kasoa- Stakeholders at Ofaakor within the Awutu Senya East Municipality (ASEMA) have called for intensified education and support in terms of improved solid waste disposal options to allow the municipality to attain the objectives of a clean and healthy environment.
This followed a focus-group discussion meeting, organised by officials of Intervention Forum (IF), a non-governmental organisation, at Ofaakor, near Kasoa, the municipal capital, to assess the level of sanitation and hygiene services provided by the Assembly and Zoomlion, a private waste management company.
More than 30 participants comprising of women and youth groups, Unit Committee and Assembly Members as well as Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) from three zonal areas and five selected communities namely Ofaakor, Opeikuma, New Town, Andam and Gaddah took part in the exercise.
The discussion focused on various areas such as the provision of improved solid waste disposal options and services; public places, streets and drains cleaning; provision of inclusive and disability-friendly institutional and public toilet facilities, as well as support towards improved household toilet facility construction.
It also touched on sanitary inspections towards general hygiene in public places, schools and workplaces; redress of community sanitation-related complaints; enforcement and management of bye-laws; and environmental sanitation and hygiene education.
Other areas covered were food hygiene regulation and provision of drains.
The citizens, who were taken through a participatory scoring process by officials from Intervention Forum (IF), were particularly worried about the worsening environmental situation in Kasoa and its environs.
This they attributed to several reasons such as the slack in the national sanitation day campaign initiated a few years ago.
The officials, led by Nana Kwasi Acheampong, Joshua Elorm and Isaac Owusu, took the gathering through the use of the community scorecard (CSC) tool to evaluate the sanitation and hygiene services provided by the Assembly as well as key waste management companies such as Zoomlion, the extent of their work, and the level of general satisfaction with the services they rendered.
The meeting was also meant for citizens to come out with key suggestions on how best the existing sanitation and hygiene situation in the municipality could be improved.
Citizens awarded various scores to sanitation and hygiene services with regard to their availability, accessibility, relevance, affordability and quality.
The services assessed included the provision of inclusive disability-friendly institutional and public toilets; support towards improved household toilet facility construction; collection, transport and disposal of solid and liquid waste.
Others related to environmental sanitation and hygiene education, information and regular feedback on constraints such as delays in scheduled pickups, and charges per collection as well as sanitation inspections towards general hygiene in public places, schools, workplaces and churches.
The rest covered sanitation bye-laws enforcement and management; as well as redress of community sanitation-related complaints.
Bad environmental practices identified by the participants covered open defecation, dumping of rubbish in drains, overflowing refuse containers that remain uncollected for days, bushy surroundings and haphazard dumping of household refuse.
They therefore called for effective sanitation and hygiene messages to be spread across all forums such as church services or Islamic worship days, funerals, wedding ceremonies, and other community meetings or gatherings on a sustained basis.
They also called on both the Assembly and Zoomlion to provide more improved solid waste disposal options such as refuse bins and skip containers, affordable house-to-house waste collection services to complement this.
Source: Ghana News Agency