Enforce byelaws on household toilets

 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.

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