Minister affirms support to GJA sanitation project

Minister affirms support to GJA: The Ministry of Sanitation has assured its commitment to provide the needed support to the Ghana Journalists Association to fight the menace of poor sanitation in the country.

The Ministry said the rate of environmental sanitation in the country was becoming endemic and decisive attention was required to deal with the issue due to the socio-economic and public health implications.

Madam Cecelia Abena Dapaah, the Sector Minister in a speech read on her behalf gave the assurance in Accra at the launch of GJA Environmental Sanitation Project as part of its 70th anniversary activities.

The project, is on the theme: “Media Action for Improved Sanitation Behaviourial Change and Compliance”.

The project is in collaboration with the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, Zoomlion Company Limited, Water Aid, Environmental Services Providers Association and the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation.

It is to complement government’s agenda of transforming the city of Accra into the cleanest city, help save Ghanaians from illnesses associated with poor sanitation and minimize the high cost on health.

She lauded the efforts of the Association in taking the steps to address sanitation issues, which had engulfed the country over the years, calling for a concerted effort to curb the situation.

Statistics show that 22 per cent of Ghanaians do not have access to any sanitation facility and that poor sanitation costs the country $290 million annually. Ghana is ranked among the lowest in sanitation.

The Minister said the costs of poor sanitation were inequitably distributed with the highest economic burden falling disproportionately on the poorest in the country, stressing that these problems confronted the citizenry every day with the drains, market places and pedestrian walk ways littered with waste.

Madam Dapaah said government had undertaken interventions, including the construction of 24,000 toilet facility in Accra, distributed 4,000 litter bins, and the construction of integrated compost for solid management to solve sanitation challenges.

She said the Ministry had launched a $53.86 million Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihood Improvement Project to improve on the sanitation conditions in the metropolis.

The Project is aimed at increasing access to safe and sustainable sanitation to the residents of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, targeting the urban and peri-urban poor residents.

She said out of the total project cost, the African Development Bank (ADB) was providing $ 48.85 million, whereas the Government and the Beneficiary Communities, were contributing $ 5.01 million, with an expected completion period of four and half years.

She said government established the Ministry as part of its commitment to address sanitation issues in the country, calling on stakeholders especially the media to support the initiative to continue with the education on the effects of poor sanitation.

Mr Roland Affail Monney, the President of GJA, said the Directive Principles of State Policy, Chapter Six of the Constitution and other instruments and obligation sought to promote a just and equitable society as well as a reasonable access by all citizens to public facilities.

However, Article 41 of the Principle enjoins the citizens to protect and safeguard the environment, affording the citizens the opportunities to participate in decision-making processes aimed at improving sanitation services and behavioural practices in communities.

He said the GJA as part of its responsibility to influence public policy, making and implementation was initiating a 24-month project in environmental sanitation governance.

Under the project, GJA would educate the citizens on sanitation behaviour change and compliance with the laws as well as enjoined the government and its agencies to deliver on their responsibilities.

Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, the Mayor of Accra Metropolitan Assembly, confirmed his commitment to the initiative, adding that it was a call to action for stakeholders to perform their roles in an effective and efficient manner.

He said Accra alone generated over 3,000 tonnes of waste every day, Greater Accra generated over 7,000 tonnes of waste every day and the nation generated over 17,000 tons of waste per day, which was a serious concern.

“If we should respond positively to the call of government on sanitation as the GJA had taken the step, the achievement will be great and pledge his support to work closely with the Association and its partners to achieve these aims,” he added.

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