Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ghana Uses New Technology To Dispose Off Human Excreta

A digester fitted on a vehicle
Source: Francis Tandoh

Ghana will soon use digesters in the treatment of waste products from humans, according to Simpson Anim Boateng, Metropolitan Health Director for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

He observed that an area in the Ghanaian capital where human excreta is directly disposed off into the sea, locally referred to as ‘lavender hill’ will soon be a thing of the past.

The lavender hill, a few kilometers from the country’s premier and largest hospital, the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital releases an unpleasant smell to residents and passers-by.

Boateng disclosed the AMA had taken delivery of digesters; a new technology used in the treatment of human excreta and had been set them up in three different parts of the Ghanaian capital to treat all the human excreta generated here and its environs.

The Accra Metro Health Director who was speaking on a local radio program organized by the Ghana Water and Sanitation (Watsan) Journalist Network (GWJN) recently noted the new technology was environmentally friendly.

“The digesters will treat the toilet, turn it to manure or fertilizer for our farmers to increase crop yield. The toilet will cease to be harmful to people,” he remarked.

Management of human excreta in Accra and other parts of the country had been an arduous task for authorities, for which the Metro Health Director observed the assembly had initiated steps to extend sewage system to cover as many households as possible.

Ghana spent 4.8 percent of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to treat common diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, cholera and typhoid in 2011.

Boateng emphasized the AMA was worried about the problem emanating from toilet facilities used by residents for that reason has outlawed the use of pan and pit latrines; locally constructed toilets.

He said: “The AMA has outlawed all other toilets in the national capital apart from water closet (WC), which is the recommended one.”

He asked owners of buildings in the city to provide toilet facilities for their tenants failure for which could lead to the prosecution of such landlords.
Touching on what the assembly was doing to handle the insanitary conditions in Accra, the Metro Health Director observed the AMA had contracted a loan amount of 680m dollars from the EXIM Bank and will soon begin to construct and cover all drains in the capital.

The collection of solid wastes, according to him had been decentralized to various local waste management contractors to ensure effective waste collection as well as deploying its environmental health officers to inspect the homes of residents to ensure they kept their environs clean.

With a total population of 24.7 million according to the country’s 2010 population and housing census (PHC), 4.8 million representing 19 percent have been estimated to be practicing open defecation.

Inadequate access to toilets facilities in Accra and its environs has forced a greater section of the population to practice open defecation, a situation which only leads to the contraction of common diseases such as cholera, typhoid as well as very bad stench.

The introduction of digesters by the AMA for the treatment of human feces is seen as a positive step as that would nonetheless bring about a modern way of managing such waste.

With national sanitation coverage of 14 percent, Ghana was nowhere near meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation as for close to 15 years it failed to increase coverage to 54 percent.

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