Open defecation is a serious environmental and health issue confronting the people of Ghana and something urgently needs to be done to put stop to this barbaric act if Ghana is poised to achieving it’s Millennium Development Goal on sanitation.
Statistics show that about 70 percent of inhabitants in Kumawu, the district capital of Sekyere kumawu do not have access to their own place of convenience. The situation is even worse in other surrounding villages in the district. In some compound houses where majority of the inhabitants live, toilets are only accessible to landlords and few privileged tenants. Having access to a decent toilet facility to ease oneself is therefore a privilege not a right or necessity.
In some communities within the Sekyere kumawu District, owing to agony of finding a place to attend to nature’s call, many people resort to practicing open defecation anywhere they find convenient and accessible. Elsewhere in the world, beaches are one of main source of foreign exchange and recreation, but in Ghana we are not only underutilizing them, but destroying the ecosystem there by uncivilized behavior on the part of some citizens. A visit to some communities within Sekyere kumawu District like Asakyerewa, Ownoo, Oyoko, Ofoase Banko, Dadease, Abotanso, Besoro, Aninagya and the like in the early and late hours of the day reveals a very unpleasant sight of people of different ages and sex on a defecation spree.
One would have loved to see a beautiful trees, and wonderful architecture, a clean water bodies flowing in a place like the above mentioned communities but unfortunately, there is a huge contradiction to this, one is welcomed with a scene of people lined up along the refuse sites and some street of Pepiase, a community near Kumawu in the Ashanti Region where people defecate to the full glare of the public with caurage and comfort. Passengers and passers-by are only not welcome with houseflies and the stench that emanates from the various joint of community coupled with the discomfort of seeing human excreta in the early hours of the day, but are sometimes assaulted verbally or physically by the perpetrators of this barbaric act which this lawlessness and environmental crime should not be tolerated in a country which is committed to the Millennium Development Goals on sanitation but since the assembly has refused to listen to their plea, the only way they can attend to the nature call is to engage in open defecation.
Silver FM’s Akwadaa Nyame visiting to Pepiase and other communities within Sekyere kumawu District reveals another disturbing scene which has become almost a norm, because of the lack of adequate and accessible places of convenience along the way; travelers take refuge and defecate openly in the bushes along the road. What is even disheartening is that the culprits of this act are mostly people who should know better. They park their cars, motorcycle with stickers of prestigious universities and other institutions both in the Kumasi the regional capital and those in the district and defecate openly.
Our ancestors and forefathers are not even spared the discomforts of open defecation. The cemeteries across the Kumawu district are other prime areas where people visit to attend to nature’s call indiscriminately. It is uncomfortable to see tombs been covered with human excreta with houseflies everywhere. The bad odor that emanates from the defection spots is something the dead would not even be able to stand or bear.
Residents of Pepiase particularly do not have access to decent toilets in their homes and therefore are left with the choice of visiting old Pit latrines popularly known as “wheetem” to ease themselves or practice open defecation.
Many of the public latrines are in very deplorable states and can be best described as death traps especially when you goes to Asakyerewa. These facilities are nothing more than a haven of maggots and houseflies. One can hardly bear the stench that emanates from these Pit latrines. Some users are left with the option than to smoke cigarette while easing themselves or cover their nose to escape from the bad odor. After visit to some of these Public Pit latrines one need to take a good shower in order to free his or herself from the strong scent that stains both body and dress.
This poses great environmental concerns because; these actions and many others are the main cause of cholera and diarrhea outbreak in the various communities in the Sekyere kumawu.
If Ghana really wants to achieve the millennium Development goal on sanitation and step foot on the ladder of sustainable economic development, urgent steps must be taken to get rid of open defecation in the country. The most important thing is to enforce existing sanitation laws. It should be made mandatory that all compound houses to own a toilet while MMDC’S have to find a way of building at least two public toilet within every community in the country. Public awareness about the dangers of open defecation should be taking serious to sensitized the people.
Source: Akwadaa Nyame (Silver FM)