The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), with support from Twin-Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP), is partnering with JOY News and some selected local radio stations to launch a campaign dubbed ‘Operation Clean Your Surroundings’ to promote good hygiene practices.
The campaign aims to enforce the assembly’s environmental sanitation bye-laws and encourage citizens to take responsibility for their actions. It will raise awareness on cleanliness, hygiene, waste management and environmental preservation through media coverage and deployment of a task force.
Also, the campaign will educate, arrest, prosecute, name and shame sanitation-related offenders across the metropolis.
“We ultimately aim to collectively change certain socio-cultural practices from the community members toward environmental sanitation,” Addul Mumin-Issa, Chief Executive Officer-STMA, has said.
According to him, various campaigns have been organised to increase awareness levels and make target audiences more conscious of the issues related to hygiene and sanitation, as well as ensuring households are aware of the linkage between hygiene, sanitation and health.
Yet, he said, some households are not ready to change their attitude when it comes to sanitation issue.
“Enforcement of the assembly’s bye-laws on household toilets has helped increase access to improved household toilet facilities in the metropolis by 20 percent, as of end third-quarter 2023,” he noted.
In this vein, he said the EU-funded Twin-Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project is constructing 500 bio-digester toilets for households in poor coastal communities; prioritising female-headed households, the disabled and aged. The selection process is currently ongoing.
The MCE mentioned that in the metropolis 15 communities are classified as open-defecation prone, and arrests for open-defecation since 2017 have made significant gains.
Mr. Munin-Issa recalled that in 2021, 176 people were arrested for open defecation – with 89 arrests in 2022. 40 people have also been arrested as at the end of third-quarter 2023.
This year alone, he said, 27 houses without toilets and 30 other sanitation-related nuisances have been prosecuted successfully.
He said these interventions, to a large extent, have helped improve sanitation and hygiene in the metropolis; but the progress has been slower than anticipated.
“It is sad to note that people are still openly defecating at seashores and bushes despite the numerous efforts to discourage the phenomenom of open-defecation. The habit of some residents deliberately dumping waste into drains, roadsides and other unauthorized places continues to choke drains, causing flooding in the metropolis. Insanitary conditions at homes, eateries, markets, transport terminals and other workplaces continue to spread communicable diseases like cholera, malaria and typhoid among the public – and in some cases causing the death of precious citizens. It is against this background that we are launching ‘Operation Clean Your Surroundings’,” he concluded.