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Enforce laws on open defecation-minister directs assemblies

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Metropolitans, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the northern region have been challenged to go the extra mile to enforce laws on open defecation and availability of household toilets in their areas of jurisdiction.

Addressing participants at the commemoration of 2016 World Toilet Day at Choggu Mma-Naayili Chief palace in the Sagnarigu district, the District Chief Executive of the Sagnarigu District, Mr. Alhassan Mohammed Sorigudoo who spoke on behalf of the northern regional minister said: “It is sad to note that in this age and time a good proportion of our people still defecate in the open and coupled with the perennial floods in our cities and towns during rains, which wash faeces and other waste into our water bodies and living environment, drastic measures such as strict enforcement of national and local byelaws on sanitation should be implemented.”

He continued: “The general public should stand up against people who indulge in such an unacceptable behaviour and that as a region we woefully missed our MDG target of 54 percent by 49 percentage points. Yet the global community has given the region another chance to meet the target, and that is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The occasion was on the theme: “Stop Open defecation, Own a household Latrine Now.’’

He further mentioned that by 2030, the northern region needs to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

To be able to achieve this herculean task of 100 percent toilets for everyone in the next 14 years, the DCE said, We must ensure people build, own, use and maintain household toilets in a more sustainable manner to be able to make the required numbers towards the set SDG target.”

The World Toilet Day was officially endorsed in July 24, 2013 by the United Nations 67th General Assembly and is now commemorated by the 139 member states of the organization of which Ghana is a member.

The occasion is celebrated to raise awareness on the need for action to end basic sanitation crisis. Communities, Mr Sorigudoo observed, are gradually being engulfed with filth especially plastic waste and the increase in apathy in the citizenry towards sanitation and hygiene.

The minister also added that poor sanitation can impact on foreign tourists choosing Ghana and in particular, the northern region as their holiday destination. It can also affect business and influence the choice by foreign businesses as to where to invest their money. β€˜β€™Emerging evidence suggest that a country’s reputation of poor environment, can affect its ability to earn foreign exchange thus hindering economic growth,” he added.

Mr. Sorigudoo noted that the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme was implemented to support individuals and households to own toilets. According to him three hundred and eight communities have stopped Open Defecation with each household owning a toilet but more needs to be done since there are over four thousand communities in the region.

Certificates were presented to five districts in the northern region namely; Central Gonja district, Kpandai, Zabzugu, Kumbungu and Tatale for their efforts in practicing Open Defecation Free. Four sanitation football teams were also awarded with footballs.

The program was organized by the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), Regional Inter-agency Coordinating Committee on sanitation (RICCS), Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit in partnership with UNICEF and was attended by sanitation stakeholders, chiefs and elders and some youth groups.

By Lilian D. Walter/zaaradio.com

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