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General News of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: GNA

International Year of Sanitation launched

Accra, Feb. 26, GNA - The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment is currently collaborating with other key sector players to explore practical innovations and solutions in funding and management of waste.

Sector Minister Kwodwo Adjei-Darko said waste recycling, re-use and recovery were waste management principles that must be adopted to ensure sustained service delivery.

Speaking at the launch of the International Year of Sanitation at Chorkor in Accra on Tuesday, he said the Ministry was putting institutional and policy framework in place aimed at ensuring a sustainable delivery of sanitation in the country. It was on the theme: "Building Partnership for Improving Sanitation."

The minister mentioned some of the institutional measures as revision of the national environmental sanitation policy, upgrading and strengthening the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit at all levels and creating the enabling environment for private sector involvement in waste management.

Mr. Adjei-Darko said the time had come to see waste as an inexhaustible resource that could be used to create employment and contribute to poverty reduction, adding that, it cost government over 23 million Ghana cedis last year to collect waste in Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Sekondi/Takoradi.

He said only five million Ghana Cedis out of the 23 million Ghana cedis was paid due to financial constraints and noted that it was not only a disincentive to the contractors but also against the Ministry's policy of encouraging the private sector to take up waste management. This, he observed, was also in line with the realization of the objectives of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at improving sanitation among the population and reducing infant mortality by 2015. He, however, said some progress had been made with support from development partners despite the many challenges confronting the sector, critical among them being low funding and negative attitudes, behaviour and practices among the populace.

Mrs. Wilma Van-Esch, who spoke on behalf of development partners, said the developing communities were expecting with keen interest the preparation of a Strategic Environmental Sanitation Investment Plan that was expected to provide a platform for effective investment for systematic and incremental improvement in environmental sanitation infrastructure and services.

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