Ghana today joins the rest of the globe to mark World Toilet Day (WTD).
At the promptings of the United Nations (UN), November 19 has annually been celebrated as WTD since 2013.
The day is said to celebrate toilets and raise awareness of the numerous people around the world living without access to safely-managed sanitation facilities, particularly toilets.
It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is ‘Sanitation and Water for all by 2030’.
In fact, it is curious and sounds spurious to hear that over three billion people around the world live without access to safely-managed sanitation and that, at least, 892 million people continue to practise open defaecation.
In other words, there are countless homes around the world which have no toilets.
This situation could have obtained in times past without questioning but not in these modern times.
Therefore, we share the position of those who wonder about the problem.
For instance, while speaking to an Accra-based media outlet on April 11, this year, about the lack of adequate household toilet facilities in the country, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said, “It beats my imagination that in this 21st Century, we still have people with homes without toilets”, but that is the reality the world faces now.
The World Toilet Day is, therefore, an opportunity to learn more about the global sanitation crisis and raise awareness by spreading awareness in your community about the importance of sustainable sanitation to keep people healthy.
It is also meant for people to learn more about other global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues.
It is also an occasion for governments to organise events and to tell the world what they are doing to provide toilets and thereby eliminate open defaecation, which pollutes the environment and groundwater and subsequently causes diarrhoeal diseases.
This year’s World Toilet Day is being commemorated on the theme “Sanitation and Groundwater” with the campaign tagline as “Making the Invisible Visible”.
In line with one of the demands of the celebration, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is organising a number of activities, including a mini-community durbar at Okese Park at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, media discussions, and community sensitisation activities.
There are also activities like those involving WASH stakeholders and
partners across the country, reading of sanitation messages, and sermons with reference to sanitation in churches and mosques.
Yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Issahaku Chinnia Amidu, addressed Parliament on the commemoration of the 2022 World Toilet Day.
The address included what the ministry has done and intends to do, as well as an appeal to all the segments of society, including the media, the district assemblies and religious bodies, to help tackle and solve water and sanitation challenges.
We urge the government to not renege on its efforts in ensuring that all households in the country have toilets by 2030.
It should also provide public toilets for visitors and residents who would feel the call of nature while in town.
It should therefore ensure that the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies apply their byelaws for that purpose and against open defaecation.