6. Clean Water and Sanitation
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
This is a real topical issue that is at the heart of the government and people of Ghana. The government of Ghana has decreed the first Saturday of every month as National Sanitation Day where everyone including the President of Ghana, his appointees, members of the judiciary et al come out to engage in clean-up exercises in their communities.
Even before the workshops could commence, Heads of some of the schools called on Ananseman Play House, expressing the desire to have more teachers participate in the workshops on “clean water and sanitation”.
When we proposed to have a separate and special workshop for the teachers, we were very surprised most of the Heads of the second cycle institutions pleaded to sit in the workshops with the children and young people.
Discussions on this goal took us once again to all six (6) regions; Ashanti, Central, Easter, Greater Accra, Volta and Western. The issues raised were about the same in each region.
So the workshop began.
- What are the sources of water in Ghana?
- What are the sources of drinking water in Ghana?
- What is the essence of clean water? The rivers, lakes, lagoons, boreholes, treated water?
- What is sanitation?
- Is there a correlation between clean water and sanitation?
- Is lack of education on water a threat to the security of a nation?
- Is the pollution of water preventable and avoidable?
- What are the methods of getting rid of waste?
- How must children, young people and women ensure good quality water and hygienic environment?
- s the goal a realistic one?
- Should children, young people and women be liable for clean
environment and safe and proper disposal of refuse?
- What roles can children, young people and women play when their suggestions towards a clean environment go unheeded?
- Their solutions under the microscope.
- Did they know of the existence of the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Water and Sanitation?
- Can their solutions be translated into a short creative film for competition?
It came to light that rivers, lakes and lagoons in Ghana are serious polluted and is a serious worry to all well-meaning people. This is especially so because these water bodies are the same ones that supply the water companies in Ghana with water for onward treatment to make it drinkable.
Disposal of refuse is another worry in Ghana. There appears to be more refuse generated than can be collected. It is often said that the refuse we are unable to manage ends up in the very water body the supplies the water companies with water.
There is a correlation between clean water and sanitation. Unhealthy cultural practices like indiscriminate disposal of waste leave the waste at the mercy of wind and rain. While the wind blows the refuse into drains and water bodies, the rain water directs the run-off water into the water bodies.
Conversely, when there is proper disposal of waste, you realise that the water bodies remain clean.
The children and young people also opined that illegal economic activities pollute and contaminate our water bodies. Illegal small scale mining (galamsey), defecating in drains and close to water bodies, fishing with pesticides are just three examples of human activities that contaminate our water bodies.
Continuous awareness creation on water and sanitation, education as well as proactive solutions like increasing waste disposal receptacles found in the communities, prompt collection of garbage, segregation of garbage into components of biodegradable and non-degradable help with more efficient waste treatment while occupying smaller place for waste dumping.
Many of the community of students we visited have expressed their readiness to put their proffered solution into the work of a short film.