Residents of Chorkor, a fishing and fish mongering community in the Ablekuma South Sub-Metropolitan District Council have identified sanitation as the major challenge inhibiting the rapid socio-economic development of the area.
The community members said the lack of refuse containers at vantage points and open defecation at the beach due to inadequate toilet facilities made the place unattractive to investors and retarding its growth.
This came to light when the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) organised a social auditing forum in the community.
The forum was to bring together opinion leaders, traditional authorities, officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A) and members of the community to devise strategies towards addressing development concerns in the community.
Mr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South Constituency said AMA had the primary responsibility to lead the way in addressing the sanitation challenge.
“The AMA should not sit down and say there was no fund. It should sit together with community members and tackle the issue or it will overwhelm us all,” he said.
Mr Vanderpuije called on businesses and non-governmental organizations in the community to also help address the concern and encouraged the people to pay their property rates to empower the Assembly to deliver on its mandate.
Mr Julius Armah, Acting Director, Ablekuma South Sub- Metro Director said the sanitation challenge in the community was complex, explaining that the residents disposed refuse indiscriminately and did not want refuse containers to be placed near their houses.
He charged the NCCE to ensure that the community members were educated extensively on their roles in the community and waste collection companies engaged for the community stopped working for non-payment.
Ms Druscilla Lartey, Officer-in -Charge of the Ablekuma South Metro Office of the NCCE said collective effort was needed to address the sanitation issues in the community.
Nii Abiala Wolaatse for Chorkor Mantsuru said it was embarrassing for the community to be mentioned whenever there were talks in the media on sanitation and appealed to government to help plan the area with sanitation facilities.
Mr Ivan Esinam Tekpli, Sub-Metro Chairman of the AMA said revenue for solving sanitation challenges were insufficient but the Assembly had provided sanitation allowances for clean-up exercises to the Assembly man adding that there would be a monitoring system to ensure that the resources provided were used appropriately.
Mr Stephen Okuley, a member of the community said there should be stiffer punishments for recalcitrant offenders of sanitation laws to serve as a deterrent to others.
He suggested that children who used public toilets be exempted from paying to prevent them from defecating openly or in polythene bags that were dropped in drains.
Mr Emmanuel Armah, another member of the community said the lack of public toilets at the beach was one major cause of open defecation at there and called on the Assembly to provide mobile toilets to the community at the beach.
Mr Alfred Addotey Allotey, also a resident, was not happy that people who reported community members who were offenders of sanitation laws were not protected.
“When the sanitation officers leave after collecting whatever it is they collect from a particular house that has been reported, the members of the house would confront and insult whoever reported them to the authorities,” he lamented.
The community after the forum formed and swore-into office, a nine member committee to discuss strategies towards addressing sanitation and other concerns in the community.