It is descending into a father-child relationship or headmaster-pupil chiding. The World Bank is threatening to withdraw grant support to Ghana. According to Mr. Charles Dzradosi, Social Policy Specialist of the United Nations Children Emergency Fund, who is helping with the grading systems of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, the Breton Woods Institution is seething with anger over Ghana’s failure to deal decisively with our perennial poor sanitary conditions, particularly, open defecation.
Mr. Szradosi spoke at the Brong Ahafo Regional launch of the Ghana District League Table in Sunyani at the week-end that the World Bank could not bring itself to understand why open defecation should still persist in the country, in spite of the bank’s assistance to the nation to eradicate the unhygienic practice.
In the words of the UNICEF Ambassador, the World Bank is unhappy that many Ghanaians still lacked access to basic sanitary facilities, particularly, household toilets.
He asked for a directive from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to push MMDAs “to tackle the issue of sanitation in more proactive manner.”
We need no ghost to tell anybody that we have not been serious with this problem which has been with us for quite a long time now. That this country is dirty is as clear as today is Tuesday. Anytime it rains, receding waters leave debris containing many horrible things. Sadly, human excreta is ever present. Apparently, some Ghanaians, and they are not only those who have not benefitted from education, throw rubbish from their households into flood waters.
It chokes our gutters and leaves our streets with dirt and a very offensive stench. It has reached a crescendo and overwhelmed our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
The Chronicle would like to believe that this society would seriously consider the need to rid our country off filth. And that it is this necessity that brought about the compilation of the league table to examine the various assemblies. The idea is that the naming and shaming of assemblies that are not doing well would prompt them to take moving rubbish seriously.
Evidence abounds that most assemblies are failing the litmus test. What is irritating is the failure of this society to end open defecation, 60 years after ending colonial rule.
It is not the best of news to report that many households at the centre of the earth are still without toilets in the 21st Century. Along the coast, for instance, our towns and villages have sandy beaches which should attract tourist in their droves. Unfortunately, with many local people easing themselves openly at the beaches, the sand and sun, which is a tourist paradise, have failed to attract tourists because of the offensive smell emanating from the beaches, as well as dirt which litter these places.
When the World Bank threatens to withdraw vital funding from the state as a result of this nation’s failure to deal with sanitation challenges and open defecation, the Breton Woods Institution is threatening to punish this country for failing to keep the country clean.
In times past, the presence of sanitary inspectors acted as checks on the failure of society to clean itself up. The Chronicle is asking the central government to get tough and force through legislation that would compel the population into the act of keeping our neighbourhoods clean. We are recommending stiffer sentences for those openly littering the society, as well as defecating openly.
Some of our neighbouring countries have succeeded in ending open defecation, especially at the beaches. In Togo, Benin and La Cote d’Ivoire, the beaches are clean and smell good. There is no earthly reason why this country cannot follow suit. We would like to recommend the carrot and stick approach to solving the problem.
We believe that providing toilets at the various beaches, while employing inspectors to summon offenders to courts to be given stiff penalties, would help stop open defecation.
Our households, streets and neighbourhoods could respond to the cleanliness test, if the authorities would severely punish those littering about. Putting rubbish into flood waters when it rains, must also be seriously punished.
We do not need lectures from the World Bank to keep our environments clean. We have to do it without prompting.
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle