OPEN DEFECATION COSTING GHANA MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, SAYS UNICEF OFFICIAL

ACCRA, Open defecation costs Ghana more than 79 million US dollars a year, says Rushnan Murtaza, a representative of the United nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), quoting a 2012 World Bank report which also estimates that one in five Ghanaians defecate openly, while only one in seven households in the country have toilet facilities.

Speaking at the launch of the National Sanitation Campaign here Monday, she added that unless the pace of solving the problem was quickened, it was estimated that Ghana would take about 90 years to end open defecation. She described the campaign as a major stepping stone and said Ghana’s development partners supported President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufu Addo’s goal of leaving no one behind in the development of the country.

She urged the government to sustain the campaign, adding that resources for the campaign needed to be allocated to where they were most needed. The impact of the campaign should be directly seen in its results, she said.

Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources Joseph Kofi Adda said with some innovation, waste management was an area with great potential for job creation because most of what was considered as waste could be used as a wealth generation resource.

In countries where waste was well regenerated, only 10 per cent of waste material was thrown away, he said, citing the example of Singapore where only two per cent of waste was got rid of, with the rest being recycled into useful products.

This system of dealing with waste, known as the Circular Economy of Waste Management, is what Ghana is targeting, said Adda, who acknowledged that it would take other factors to achieve such productive waste management methods, including enabling policies, the right human resources and the necessary technological support.

He said although waste management had been a problem in Ghana over the years, there was an on-going capacity-building effort to support the new Ministry to deal with the situation.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK