The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that poor sanitation reduces human well-being, social and economic development due to impacts such as anxiety, risk of sexual assault, and loss of educational opportunities.
It linked poor sanitation to the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio, and aggravates economic growth.
WHO has said that inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths annually, and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases such as intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma.
It further stated that some 827,000 people in low and middle-income countries die as a result of inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene each year, representing 60 per cent of total diarrhoeal deaths. Poor sanitation is believed to be the main cause in some 432,000 of these deaths.
Sanitation issues at Agona-Nkwanta
However, Agona-Nkwanta, the capital of the Ahanta West Municipal Assembly (AWMA) in the Western Region continue to face a growing challenge of poor sanitation as residents live in a town, where sewerage is dangerous and space for toilets and removal of waste, both solid and liquid are expensive.
Agona-Nwanta is noted for its Wednesday market days, where so many people travel to the place to trade. People from several parts of Ghana travel there and the market gets buzzing with people and several activities.
The general situation of sanitation in Agona-Nkwanta as observed by the Ghana News Agency is poor as many residential areas are polluted unabatedly with its corresponding high and exhuming stench from the refuse dumps, public toilets and open defecations, especially when it rains.
No wonder some of the diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio as stated by the WHO are common in the Municipality.
For instance at the Agona-Nkwanta Cargo Station, there is a heaped refuse dump, which keeps blowing up all the time as waste generated around the Ahantaman Rural Bank and its environs are dumped there.
Many shop owners at the Cargo Station have closed down their shops leading to loss of jobs and reduction in productivity owing to the unbearable stench emanating from the refuse.
The situation, GNA learnt, infuriated some landlords in the area to stop people from dumping refuse at the site.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the said refuse dumped at the site was cleared at least twice in the November-December period last year yet the current situation is worse.
In the case of Domeabra, the condition was fairly good since much of the wastes were removed considering the number of plastic bags and sacks of refuse by the main road.
Similarly, the one at Agona-Fie which is close to the residents was pushed back though a lot needs to be done looking at how filthy the environment seems to be.
Meanwhile, the Assembly has a dump site at Damte, a suburb of Agona-Nkwanta, where all the solid wastes generated are dumped, but the sad news is that the Damte community has created a place where they dump refuse, some few meters to the main site, while people defecate around the place and dispose refuse arbitrarily.
There is a public toilet on the same spot, where for some time, there is no container in which residents can dump their garbage until recently, when the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) donated a container to be used for that purpose.
One major challenge identified by the GNA is the fact that the road leading to the site was in a bad state over the years making the waste collection vehicles unable to get access to the site, a development which adversely affects the entire Agona Township.
In an interview with some residents around the respective dumps, they all lamented the poor nature of the refuse dumps, associating it to the attitudes of the residents and the Assembly.
They noted that sanitation increased with increasing population and called on the Municipal Authority to work hard and apply innovative ways in improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions for the citizens.
Mr. Ted Tettey, Sanitation Officer for AWMA admitted lamented that disposal facilities in the Municipality were inadequate to match the amount of waste generated in the entire Municipality.
According to him, the sanitation situation in the Municipality was fairly good though there was the need to improve on it, the Department will do its best to tackle and improve on the sanitation issues.
Mr. Tettey also contended that the company responsible for waste collection in the Municipality operates in other parts of the region which makes it difficult to get them on time.
He therefore appealed to the residents for attitudinal change and called for a collective and concerted efforts in keeping the community clean in order to achieve a better sanitation status.
He hinted that total waste generation in the Municipality is about 53 tons per day while total waste collection is around 17 tons per day, representing about 30 – 32 per cent.
This, he explained, means that not even half of the waste generated in the entire Municipality is collected on daily basis looking at the data above.