The Coalition of non-governmental organisations ( NGOs) in water and sanitation, yesterday urged the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation (MWRS) to ensure the enforcement of laws on sanitation.
The coalition expressed worry at the rate at which the public disregard sanitation laws.
The coalition made up of 10 civil society organisations (CSOs) and 10 environmental community groups, stressed that it was time for law enforcement institutions to collaborate with the ministry to strictly enforce laws passed by Parliament, to keep the country clean.
At a media briefing in Accra on the state of water and sanitation in the country, the spokesperson for the coalition, Benjamin Lartey, said indiscriminate disposal of refuse had gradually become a norm and the country had been considered as the second filthiest country in Africa by a WHO and UNICEF report.
He said despite laws banning open defecation and indiscriminate disposal of refuse, many people litter towns and cities with impunity because the laws did not have enough teeth to bite.
Mr. Lartey lamented that the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) had to shut down some of its treatment plants because of activities of illegal miners who had polluted water bodies, and cited the Eastern Region.
“One of the most critical environmental issues is illegal mining, which is ‘killing’ most of our fresh water resources and the failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with them, is an indication that our enforcement institutions do not have the required capacity,” he stressed.
Mr. Lartey reminded the government of the goal 6.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which stated that “by 2030, (governments should) improve water quality by reducing pollution; eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse.”
He said: “By 2020, (governments should) protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes,” he stated and explained that such targets were very necessary for the country whose value for renewable internal freshwater resources per capita reduced from 4,276 in 1962 to 1,131.
Mr. Lartey was optimistic that the enforcement of laws and extensive education on sanitation will help address sanitation challenges confronting the country.
He recommended to government to allocate more money to the MWRS, to revamp all the water treatment plants and build plants to treat faecal matter.
Mr. Lartey commended the government for establishing the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, but urged it to make adequate budget allocation for the ministry to realise its objectives.
By Charles Amankwa