National Sanitataion Day held

Mr. Emmanuel Agyekum (in gutter) leading the drains desilting section.

Mr. Emmanuel Agyekum (in gutter) leading the drains desilting section.

Clean-up exercises were held at various towns and communities in the country to mark this month’s National Sanitation Day (NSD).

Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum on Saturday led a well patronised clean-up exercise here in the Awutu Senya District of the Central Region to observe this month’s National Sanitation Day (NSD) reports Julius Yao Petetsi.

The exercise was supported by youth groups in the area, market women, officials of waste management firm, Zoomlion, the National Disaster Management Organisation and the National Fire Service.

Some of the areas cleaned included major drains here in the capital, Senya Beraku and the market with staff of Zoomlion collecting the rubbish to prevent them from being washed back into the drains.

The day, set aside for voluntary clean-up across the country in an effort to reduce unsanitary conditions, was first observed in November 1, 2014, as a response to the 2014 cholera outbreak.

Initially widely patronised , the day observed on the first Saturday of every month, has unfortunately  been recording a dip in patronage resulting in calls for its review and a law to back it so as to make it mandatory for all citizens to participate in.

In an interaction with the media after the exercise, Emmanuel Agyekum urged continued public support for the programme, adding the national exercise was achieving the desired result.

“I know the patronage is coming down, I know a lot of people are not coming out to work. But I want to admonish all Ghanaians to come out and clean the environment. The reason is, ‘What have we achieved so far?’ We are in June…, (and) there is nothing like cholera in Ghana; it means we have achieved a lot”, he indicated.

Mr. Agyekum continued: “If you do a comparative analysis and look at last year, comparing last year to the previous years, we had few numbers of cholera. It means the National Sanitation Day is working and this is what we want to see. We want to see the results and the results are obvious: you go to our hospitals, they will tell you that there is nothing like cholera. And I strongly believe that if we continue with this exercise, Ghana will be free and we will be free of cholera.”

Touching on the need to pass a legislation to ensure the day  became compulsory than voluntary, Emmanuel Agyekum, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nkoranza South in the Brong Ahafo Region said a bill has recently been sent to parliament by the ministry for consideration.

The bill if approved, he said, would give legal backing to the NSD programme, allowing the prosecution of individuals who refuse to take part, and asked for attitudinal change among Ghanaians and urged the various assemblies to apply their sanitation by-laws to punish persons who violate them.

He gave thumbs up to the youth in Senya Beraku for coming out in their numbers to support the exercise, which has been reviewed from regional basis to Metropolitan, Municipal and District levels and urged other youth groups to support the NSD if it came to their areas.

The District Chief Executive of the area, Mr. Sampson Abbey Armarh, on his part said citizens must make cleaning their environments a daily activity rather than wait to do it once in a month.

His outfit, he said, would continue with the sensitisation so as to inculcate the habit of cleanliness into the people of the area, especially the youth.

Nana Ncharkey Okine VII, the Adontehene of the Awutu Traditional Area, on his part said the traditional leadership would continue to support the efforts of the ministry and the assemblies by mobilising the youth in cleaning up the environment.

The Judicial service has been called upon to put in place mechanism to deal with sanitation cases expeditiously, reports Charles Amankwa.

Mr. Jerry Akwei Thomspon, the Municipal Chief Executive of Ga South, who made the call in Accra last Saturday, proposed that sanitation courts should be structured in a way that they could prosecute cases such as indiscriminate disposal of waste within a matter of a few days.

He expressed concern about situations in which cases on sanitation were dragged in court for a long time, explaining that the fight against filth becomes very difficult when cases travel for a very long period and therefore could not deter others from committing similar offenses.

He made this comment during a cleanup exercise held to coincide with the National Sanitation Day and the 8th anniversary of the assembly.

The exercise began approximately at 6 a.m. when staff of the assembly together with some personnel of Zoomlion Company Limited and members of surrounding communities converged on various locations within the municipality to desilt gutters and clean up waste.

The cleanup took them to the interchange at Mallam junction where the Chief Executive and the Member of Parliament for Bortianor, NgleshieAmanfrom, Mr. Bright Kodzo Demordzi as well as aspiring MP for Weija- Gbawe Constituency, Obuobia Darko-Opoku met with some community folks to desilt the main drain that connects smaller ones in the municipality to the Lafa Stream.

Mr. Thompson chastised the residents in the surrounding communities for throwing waste into the drain and thereby contributing to the flooding of Mallam junction whenever it rained.

He strongly attributed the recent flooding that halted activities at the place to the inability of the water to freely flow due to the choked drain.

He therefore warned them to desist from such practice and threatened to deal drastically with any persons who engaged in dumping waste at the place.

Mr. Demordzi stressed on the need to intensify education on sanitation while enforcing bye laws that restrained people from committing sanitation offenses.

“For sanitation to be improved, all stakeholders particularly the media should give more attention to educating the public on the essence of public health and cleanliness. This should be seen as a collective task but not government’s business alone,” he stated.

He urged the media to place more emphasis on the National Sanitation Day and encourage the public to fully participate within their various localities.

Mrs. Oboubia emphasised on the need for the public to consider sanitation as a shared responsibility instead of a government’s obligation.

According to her, the attitude of some Ghanaians to create waste in their homes and communities and later blame government for doing little to tackle sanitation matters was a trend that should be reversed.

“People intentionally throw refuse into gutters and choke the drains in the city but they blame authorities when their communities get flooded, forgetting that their actions were the cause of the situation,” she said.

From: Nkawkaw David Kodjo, reports that Students of Nkawkaw Senior High School and Saint Anthony Senior High School changed what could have been a low patronage of the regional sanitation day exercise slated for Kwahu South Municipality last Saturday.

The students numbering about 300 including some few members of Millennium Supporters Union (MISUGHA) as well as some of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party members and the Zoomlion workers were the only people who took part in the exercise.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mavis Ama Frimpong whose presence would have motivated the residents to join the exercise was also late to in coming.

At about 8:15 am when she arrived there, the Nkawkaw new lorry station had already swept and no one was there except the Municipal Chief Executive, Dr.  Alex Obeng Somoah and some few zoomlion workers who were waiting for her.

The students and the few others who had finished cleaning the town gathered at the taxi station awaiting her arrival.

Addressing the students, the minister Mavis Ama Frimpong commended the students for their enthusiastic efforts in taking part in the exercise.

She also advised them to be ambassadors of preaching the gospel of sanitation so that the environments will be kept clean so as not to breed mosquitoes.

The Minister also spoke to the market women and advised them to keep the market clean so as to avert any form of disaster.

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