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According to a study conducted by the World Bank, Ghana spends US$290 million annually fighting poor sanitation.

According to a study conducted by the World Bank, Ghana spends US$290 million annually fighting poor sanitation.

This is equivalent to $12 per person per year, or 1.6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, made these startling facts known when her ministry took its turn at a Meet the Press engagement yesterday in Accra.

Economic sense

“It makes a lot of economic sense to invest in sanitation because every dollar invested in sanitation yields $5 dividends,” Mrs Dapaah said.

The Minister added that there has been significant improvement to sanitation services delivery in the cities in recent times.

“According to the 2019 report released by the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation, 75 per cent of the solid waste generated in the urban centres is now properly managed,” she said.

Return of the tankansle

Mrs Dapaah disclosed plans by the government to return to the practice of the old days, when men in khaki uniforms would go into compounds and private homes to sample water pots for mosquito eggs or check chamber pots for the scent of fresh urine.

In line with the vision of making a strong statement against poor sanitation, sanitation guards will be deployed from July into communities to ensure strict adherence to by-laws, the Minister said.

“The ministry has decided to facilitate the deployment of sanitation guards, popularly known as ‘saman-saman’, by July this year in the MMDAs [metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies] to strengthen the enforcement of the sanitation by-laws to maintain cleanliness in our cities and towns,” she announced.

Policy review

Mrs Dapaah also said that her ministry has found it appropriate to review the 2010 environmental sanitation policy, which provides guidance and vision for the MMDAs to implement sanitation in a structured and holistic manner.

In an effort to ensure strict adherence to the various national and local laws relating to the environmen, the ministry has also begun putting together a comprehensive and consolidated set of sanitation laws.

“It will serve as the primary reference document for the preparation of local by-laws as well as enhancing successful prosecution of sanitation offenders,” Mrs Dapaah said.