A sanitation contractor, Jones Amankwah, has observed that the country’s sanitation menace goes beyond the proliferation of litter.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra, he expressed worry that some Ghanaians perceive the absence of litter as the panacea to the country’s sanitation problem, forgetting that indiscriminate defecation and urination not only dent the nation’s image, but pose health risks.
Mr. Amankwah, who is Managing Director of Amansia Enterprise, which operates public toilets and urinals as well as manages same on behalf of some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), was reacting to concerns raised about public toilets by members of the public, who were interviewed by this reporter in Accra.
He noted that most public comments following the President’s declaration of his intention to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa have only been directed towards the elimination of litter.
It would be recalled that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, declared on his assumption of office in January, 2017, to make Accra, the national capital, Africa’s cleanest city.
Mr. Amankwah said the menace of plastic wastes in the country demanded a concerted effort to tackle.
He suggested a combination of education and easy accessibility of public places of convenience as necessary in the fight against the negative habits.
Mr. Amankwah stressed that while the effort to encourage households to have toilets was laudable, making washrooms easily accessible in public space was very critical.
The contractor, therefore, called on MMDAs to collaborate with the private sector to provide modern public washrooms, and urged the media to intensify its education on sanitation.
Mr. Amankwah observed that some people’s refusal to use public toilets and urinals was based on unpleasant past experiences from using particular types of facilities being phased out.
He urged public toilets and urinals to consider their role as critical to the nation’s heath and image.
Mr. Nathaniel Aryee, an accounts officer, said he had never made any effort to use a public toilet, simply because of what he had heard about the heat and odour such facilities produce.
He said that whenever he had found the need to use a toilet outside his home, he endeavoured to find a private toilet to use and not defecate openly.
“As for open urination I think everybody does it so I don’t see it as any big deal,’’ he added.
Araba Esuon, a primary school dropout, and resident of Alajo, who sells bread, told this reporter, who found her openly defecating at the beach behind the old passport office, said she had been avoiding the use of public toilets because it cost money to use them.
A coconut seller, who only identified himself as Kobby and a junior high school graduate, was at a loss as to why he should be questioned for openly urinating on the former training pitch of Accra Hearts of Oak. “Show me a public urinal here,’’ he demanded angrily.
BY TIMES REPORTER