Open Defecation has been described as “a threat to the environment”, with a call for all to work together through accelerated action to eradicate it.
The Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) made the call to coincide with the commemoration of the 2022 World Environment Day.
The M-CODe noted that the world cannot experience a healthy environment amid Open Defecation, which has now become a major problem in most developing countries.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, M-CODe National Convener in an interview stated that the practice is common where sanitation infrastructures are not available, and the first step toward eradicating open defecation is to provide toilet facilities to the people.
He said World Bank Statistics suggested that regions with high rates of open defecation experience sanitation and improper waste management systems.
He said as M-CODe joins the global community to mark the 2022 World Environment Day which is on the general theme: “OnlyOneEarth,”a call for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.
The M-CODe National Convener commended the World Vision Ghana for its demonstrated commitment in supporting M-CODe over the years for advocacy toward the eradication of open defecation and called on other stakeholders to join forces with M-CODe to achieve this objective.
Mr. Ameyibor said the movement associated itself with the global discussion that the earth faced a triple planetary emergency. The climate is heating up too quickly for people and nature to adapt, and habitat loss and other pressures mean an estimated one million species are threatened with extinction.
He said the recognition that ‘pollution continues to poison our air, land, and water is also a direct link to open defecation that is the more reason why governments and institutions worldwide must accelerate efforts to eradicate open defecation.
Mr. Ameyibor said the research data indicated that the reasons why some people refused to use toilets had either been poverty that made it difficult to build one or the lack of governmental support in providing such facilities.
On the harmful effect of Open Defecation on human health, Mr. Ameyibor said globally it had been associated with: Increase in Waterborne Diseases, Vector-borne Diseases, Compounds Problem of Disease Exposure, Malnutrition in Children, Child Stunting, and Gender-based Violence.
He said Ghana was not immune from these diseases and problems associated with open defecation and called for drastic efforts toward solving the problem.
“Open defecation contributes to the build-up of filth as loads of microbes can become so great that, in the end, they end up in aquatic systems, thereby causing harm to aquatic life,” he said.
He said heaps of human faeces or just the sight of it was “an eyesore and disgustful, to anyone close, while the stench emanating from it was also highly unpleasant and pollutes the surrounding air.
“Such places also attract large swarms that make the area completely unattractive to the eye,” the M-CODe National Convener stated.
Mr. Ameyibor called on stakeholders, governmental and non-governmental to upscale the efforts to eradicate the problem of Open Defecation in Ghana, “some communities and districts have achieved Open Defecation Free status, so it is achievable through concerted efforts”.