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Opinions of Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Columnist: Archibold Ebo Arkhurst

Open Defecation

It would seem to many people as though I am unnecessarily committing the highest order of sacrilege by my use of the name of one of heaven’s warring angels in the above caption. However, let’s mortify any possible judgmental position by saying that ‘Angel Michael’ herein refers to a certain landlord who calls himself “Obofour(an Angel)” Michael and yet acts so unlike an ethereal being as is clearly seen in his flawed decision to build and rent out a room without a toilet, bringing suffering upon himself and his tenants.

Now this is commonly known to our Ghanaian Society and it’s about time we break the silence on that.

Many people in our society today, especially landlords prevent sanity to prevail by allowing their uncontrolled desire for money to be the basis for everything they do. It’s sad to enter many compound homes in Ghana today with only one or zero toilets serving about 10 to 26 tenants who invariably are forced to ignore the pricking of their conscience by defecating openly and indiscriminately at wherever they will when matters becomes to worse.

According to the UN’s “open”, about 1 billion people are forced to practice open defecation around the world.

In Ghana alone, about 5,000,000 people have practiced and or are practicing open defecation at the peril of our beaches, bushes, gutters and unguarded suitable places whiles disregarding it negative health harvest of cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis, worm infestation, typhoid, polio, reduced physical growth, impaired cognitive function, etc.

A child dies every 2.5 minutes, 1.1 million litres of human excreta enters into our water bodies every minute; Government loses over 100 million Ghana Cedis every year to sanitation of which open defecation is an integral part; yet the situation remains unchanged.

It’s not the purpose of this write-up to blame anyone; nonetheless the government must augment its efforts in dealing with this sanitation crises urgently.

There ought to be a proper monitoring and compliance system ensuring that property owners make their homes completely habitable with an integrated latrine available for use. It’s the natural right of every human being to excrete nevertheless that must be done at the right place.

Hence government must deploy uncorrupted sanitation enforcers to ensure that the right thing is done since human beings would never do what you expect, but rather what you inspect. Whiles admonishing the governments and landlords to be responsible, we must not fail as citizens of this blessed nation to also show an equal sense of responsibility…I missed those days of “Tankase( strict municipal sanitation officers in the early 90’s in Ghana) ”!

By: Archibold Ebo Arkhurst