The Ashaiman Municipal Assembly (ASHMA) have vowed to end open defecation in the area by the year 2020.
The Assembly said they had made steady progress with the issue of open defecation in the area over the years and were hopeful of joining the open defecation free zones as they continued to improve the situation.
“Now, 0.2 per cent of the population use the open pit and 0.2 per cent practice open defecation, which is an improvement over 4 per cent recorded in 2010,” Mr Kwadwo Akuamoah Boateng, Coordinating Director for the Municipality said.
Mr Boateng said this during a tour by the members of Media Coalition against Open Defecation (MCODe) and Coalition of NGO’s in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) around some open defecation areas in the Municipality.
Members on the tour were taken to some suburbs in the Municipality where the practice was common.
At Tulaku, a slum area along the motorway stretch and just right behind the China Mall, locals defecating in the open area at around 10:00GMT took to their heels when they saw the media presence.
Speaking to some of the locals in the area, they all alluded to defecating in the open areas because of the bad condition of the public toilets.
“The toilet facility we have in the area is not neat at all. It is expensive but they do not keep it well. The place is also filled with weed smokers and so you cannot go there if you don’t want to inhale smoke,” Ibrahim Abubakar, a 39-year-old driver said.
Bamba Wahid, a 22-year-old man, who had stayed in the area for four years said, “I pay almost GHS1.00 every day to visit the toilet because it is 30 pesewas and I go there three times a day. The foul scent from the place and the flies makes it uncomfortable to use the facility considering how much you have to pay too. The authorities must do something about it.”
According to the Urban WASH baseline report, 2016, 15.7 per cent of the 300,000 population in the area used improved sanitation facilities with 83.9 per cent depending on public and shared toilets facilities.
Mr Akuamoah Boateng said the Assembly under its sanitation intervention projects has increased access to toilet by 3,365, and adds, about 1,247 of the projects were subsidised under the Greater Accra Metropolitan Assembly Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP).
He said as part of commitments to ending the menace, the Assembly gave a moratorium of up till February this year for landlords/landladies to get toilet facilities or face prosecution.
He noted that, since the end of the deadline, 13 cases have been registered with the court and two people had already been convicted with fine of GHC960.00 and GHC 1,200.00 respectively.
Mr Nangodi Baba, ASHMA Environmental Health Assistant, said that the GAM-SWP provided a subsidy for which every household can get a stand-alone toilet facility for GHC 1,100.
He however said it was sad to note that, out of 200 households targeted since the year 2017, 18 households have been able to acquire the facility.
Dr Doris Yartey, Patron of the Coalition, however said she was not impressed with the commitment shown by the ASHMA to end open defecation.
She said the situation on the ground was disappointing and urged the ASHMA to do more to improve the situation.
Dr Yartey said the MCODe and its partners had the same objective of fighting open defecation, and hence would continue in asking the authorities the right questions to address the situation.
Mr Emmanuel Addai, Convener of the Coalition, said that the MCODe was formed in September, 2018 and this was their first advocacy campaign against open defecation.
He said they received support from UNICEF and World Vision International, Ghana. He said he expected the information gathered from the tour to feed into a planned national symposium on open defecation later in the year.