Open defecation still worrying – Prof Mariwah

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Prof Simon Mariwah, Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas, University of Cape Coast, has identified the improper disposal of faecal matter as another form of open defaecation.

He said the practice has become worrisome.
With data and slides, the lecturer showed vehicles emptying faecal matter and sludge in the open, into valleys and drains and calling the practice “mass open defaecation”, wondered the impact that would have on humans, animals and the environment.

He said faecal matter or liquid not treated still had disease causing pathogens, and “mass open defaecation is a serious and health and environmental threat.”

“You know how much faeces we throw into the environment on daily basis? he asked. Prof Mariwah said about 17.7% of Ghana’s households practice open defaecation.

He said the quantum of faeces thrown into the environment “can be greater in carbohydrate-dominant meals in Ghana.”
Prof Mariwah was delivering a key presentation in Accra, at the second multi-stakeholder dialogue on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) dubbed “Executive Breakfast Conversation”, Prof Mariwah observed that most Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDA) buildings as well as health facilities, schools, churches, drinking spots, Police check points, marketplaces and lorry stations do not have decent WASH facilities.

The Executive Breakfast Conversation, organised by the Ghana Chapter of World Vision International, a Christian humanitarian organisation, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the United States Agency for International Development and other partners was on the theme “Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and Sustainable WASH Service Delivery,” with the sub theme, “Every Child Deserves Clean Water and Improved Sanitation.”
Prof Mariwah said the lack of data was a challenge in the provision of WASH facilities.

He said: “Waste management is one of the most visible failures of MMDAs in Ghana: open and choked drains, flying plastics on the streets and on the beaches, uncontrolled dumpsites. Meanwhile, it is one of the worst sectors in terms of data. No comprehensive nationally represented data on waste characterization and composition We know how people dispose their wastes, but do we know how much they dispose?

“This is where the problem lies. Is it a matter of priority or expertise? For me, it is a matter of priority.
“Within the MMDAs, do we have data on how many trips per day, per week, per month and per year?”, he asked.
Prof Mariwah identified the inability to adequately mobilise resources by the MMDAs, and that most of them do not have the resource mobilization strategy for WASH services delivery and the low financial commitment towards WASH has led to inadequate logistics.

” Sanitation financing is mostly driven by donor or development partners and dwindling.
There is also weak enforcement of sanitation by-laws in MMDAs.

The don suggested Decentralized Transfers such as the District Assembly Common Fund, grants-in-aid from the central government, increase of Internally Generated Fund fees and miscellaneous charges as well as property rates, basic rates, special rates, licenses, investment income, mapping and evaluate all rateable properties and services. and leveraging existing technology for ease of collection and payment and the use of digital platforms for collection and payments.

He called also for the revival of the communal spirit and the use of local resources in providing WASH facilities.
Mr Dickens Thunde, Ghana World Vision National Director said, “many of the toilet facilities in schools do not have changing rooms for girls.

“This does not make the school environment conducive, friendly for girls, particularly those who have reached the age of puberty.”

Mr Thunde, however pledged the commitment of World Vision to prioritise and increase investment for the delivery of sustainable safe drinking water, improved sanitation and the foundation for growth and socio-economic development.

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