A key challenge facing many developing countries is poor sanitation. However, statistics also shows that 15 people out of 100 have access to sanitation facilities and services. This challenge is very dominant in Ghana. A whopping 4.8 million citizens in Ghana do not own a latrine. Also, Ghana spends not less than $72 million every year to improve sanitation.
Sanitation first refers to the public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human excreta and sewage. On the other hand, poor sanitation refers to the act of living in a particular setting where one does not have access to good water and good sewage system.
Majority of the facilities or infrastructure to ensure safe, good and healthy living are not available. Poor sanitation reduces human well-being, social and economic development due to impacts such as anxiety, risk of sexual assault and loss of educational opportunities.
A major cause of poor sanitation is the improper disposal of waste. The management of our solid waste is nothing to write home about. It is in its’ poorest state. People dispose of waste materials indiscriminately on the streets that create debris and chokes gutters.
It is to be noted that during heavy rainfall, these choked gutters are likely to cause flooding. We are living in a country where citizens feel it is normal to dump waste anywhere and due to this, we are endangering our own lives and other species.
Also, a major cause of poor sanitation is the lack of improved sanitation facilities. Improved proper facilities such as toilets and latrines promote health because they allow people to dispose of their waste materials appropriately. Furthermore, dustbins being placed at vantage points at public places will also help reduce sanitation problems.
Poor sanitation has negative effects on the individuals and the nation at large. One major negative effect is its’ bad impact on our health and on the environment. Improper disposal of waste can greatly affect the health of the population living nearby the polluted areas. Waste disposal workers and other employees in the facilities are at great danger. This is also because it generates a lot of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.
Another major effect is soil contamination. Some waste materials end up turning into bad or harmful substances and therefore destroys the soil structure. Soil contamination does not only affect plant growth, but it is also unhealthy to humans and animals that feed on those plants.
Poor sanitation also adversely affects the local economy. Individuals want to stay in healthy, clean, fresh and sanitary places. A setting with poor waste management will certainly not attract tourist and investors. This eventually reduces productivity in the country.
In order to improve sanitation, there is the need to educate the general public to maintain a sanitized environment. It will make them aware of some of the actions that involve improper disposal of waste and its’ related activities.
Also, the provision of improved sanitation facilities to reduce the issue of improper waste disposal. Sanitation facilities such as toilets, latrines, incinerators, dustbins etc, when provided will drastically reduce the case of individual improper disposal of waste.
Recycling of materials into useful products will also help reduce the number of waste products in our environment.
Enforcement laws can be passed on in order to improve sanitation. People who default these laws must be punished.
To draw the curtains, practising good sanitation will help the country in diverse ways. Therefore, we must try our best to encourage people to practice it and with the help of our government, improve the lives of people and the country as a whole.
SOURCE: FLORENCE DEBRAH, UCC