Ankobra Basin communities must not be left behind

Ghana, as member of the United Nations, in September 2015, joined the international community to signed on to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as an obligation to achieve better and sustainable future for all.

The sustainable development agenda commits signatories, for that matter the world as collective entity, to addressing challenges, especially those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.

There 17 goals is to be attained with more than hundred set targets. Goal 1 relates to issue of poverty, to end extreme poverty by the target year 2030, Goal 2 calls for zero hunger, Goal 3 emphasises on good health and well-being, Goal 6 is on clean water and sanitation, and Goal 10 seeks to reduce inequalities.

The clarion call by the world is to ‘leave no one behind’ by addressing inequalities and give equal opportunities so as to eliminate hunger, starvation, deprivation, illiteracy, diseases, in view of the yawning gap between the have and the have-not.

Significantly, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been accorded the responsibility to co-chair a group of eminent personalities established by the UN Secretary General, to sensitise global leaders and mobilise support from both the public and private sectors, to ensure we achieve goals and set targets of the agenda 2020, so that we leave no one behind.

Fortunately for Ghana, the SDGs have been factored into development plans of the Ministries, Department and Agencies, and prioritised in the medium-term development plans of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

We are enthused about the urgency the President attaches to Agenda 2030, SDGs as well as the ‘Africa We Want’ Agenda 2063, having set up inter-ministerial committees to work closely with the seat of government for the realisation of the Africa and world visions, both of which are aligned with Ghana’s specific development agenda.

It is against this background that we wish to call for swift action to prevent further contamination of water bodies within the Ankobra Basin in the Western Region with faecal matter.

Clearly, this poses health risk to residents of the enclave, who apart from drinking the water, use it for bathing, cooking and vegetable production.

The Thursday, June 27, 2019 issue of the Ghanaian Times, carried a study conducted by Conservation Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, and Water Resources Commission-Ankobra Basin Office, to assess the water quality of 28 communities within the basin, indicating the basin is contaminated with faecal matter due to open defecation and dumping of refuse.

Obviously, the dumping of refuse into the Ankobra Basin and open defecation along the banks of rivers and other water bodies, by residents due to the lack of sanitation facilities for communities, is worrying. 

We, therefore, entreat the various assemblies and other stakeholders within the catchment area of the basin, to put in place effective measures to address sanitation challenges facing people in these communities.

They must not be left behind in efforts by government to provide development, particularly sanitation facilities, and other social services.

This is the surest way people in the Ankobra Basin can avert health hazard, improve their welfare and live dignified lives.

A stitch in time saves nine! 

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