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3.8 million Ghanaians lack safe drinking water -Minister

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Mr. Issahaku Chinnia Amidu, Deputy Minister for Water Resources and Sanitation

Mr. Issahaku Chinnia Amidu, Deputy Minister for Water Resources and Sanitation, has announced that approximately 3.8 million people still lack access to safe drinking water and entreated Ghanaians to take water quality issues seriously.

He disclosed that 5 in 10-point sources and 8 out of 10 household water is contaminated with E-coll and called for vigorous public education and sensitisation on how to keep water safe from point of fetching to point of usage.

The minister made the call at the Mole XXXIII Conference organized by the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation Sector.

The theme for the Conference was: “Ghana’s Commitment to Water and Hygiene (WASH), Connecting Systems to Bridge Service Delivery Gaps”.

He noted that the greatest enemy for safe water delivery in Ghana is the galamsey menace, hence WASH stakeholders need to make their voices heard on the on-going discussion towards stopping galamsey.

The Deputy Minister said it costs urban water utility companies so much to treat water for human consumption.

According to him, following the industrial revolution, many economies have adopted a linear pattern of use of natural resources, consisting of ‘Take, Make-Use and Discard’ approach. This, he said, was based on the false premise that natural resources are infinite.

He disclosed that such a pattern cannot simply be sustained due to huge economic and environmental consequences for present and future generations, hence there is no option than to plan and implement their activities, with circular economy in mind.

Minister Amidu underscored that, despite several sensitization activities on how to minimise waste generation in public places,people still leave waste on the shoulders of the road, while others still dump waste beside empty public litter bins, instead of dropping the waste into these bins, with others deliberately throwing the waste from moving vehicles onto the ground.

He said it is sad to note that notwithstanding the efforts made by the various Assemblies towards public sensitisation, the habit of street littering has not stopped, though the National and Local Bye-Laws frown on this practice, thus compelling city authorities to spend a fortune to collect and transport these wastes from our cities, instead of channeling these scarce funds to other development sectors of the local authority.

The minister stressed that, uncontrolled littering takes away the aesthetic beauty of our cities, which would have otherwise attracted tourists and thereby boost the local economy.

He lamented that, the indiscriminate dumping of waste at unauthorized places in our cities is a dangerous practice and should not be taken lightly, as it impacts negatively on the local economy and the general environment in various ways.

He said it does not cost anyone anything at all to do the right thing and said doing the right thing is not a preserve for the rich or a certain group of people.

Mr. Chinnia Amidu also cautioned that living in a clean environment should not be a luxury because keeping the cities clean is everybody’s responsibility and needed to strive to play their part at all times.

The Minister lamented about the toilet facilities of the Maximum Security Prisons at Ankaful, which have become sources of disease transmission among detainees, who use inadequate and poorly managed open bucket as toilets.

On top of this challenge is inadequate funding and lack of technical knowledge for construction, maintenance and operating safe improved WASH facilities in Prisons.

He stressed that the time has come for the WASH sector in Ghana to commit some financial resources and technical support for Prisons and Police detaining cells.

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