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Regional News Fri, 16 Jul 2021

Okuenya community without toilet for 10 years as broken down facility rots

Correspondence from Eastern Region

Some 800 residents at Okuenya in the Eastern Region have appealed to authorities to facilitate repair works of a broken-down toilet in the community.

The water closet (WC) facility fitted with an overhead polytank and a septic tank was put up in 2002 by Benson Agriculture and Food Institute, a non-governmental organization (NGO) on humanitarian grounds to improve the sanitation challenges in the community.

The facility is now covered in weeds due to lack of proper maintenance after it broke down sometime in 2012 and residents say persistent appeals over the past ten years to the Municipal Assembly for the renovation of the broken toilet have been to no avail.

The uncovered septic tank filled with volumes of water also poses danger to members of the community, particularly children.

The irony of the matter, the residents noted was that there was no public toilet in the area, forcing them to rely on unhygienic dug-outs in the community with others resorting to defecating in the open.

Unit Committee Chairman for Okuenya Electoral Area, Paul Senyemi, and other opinion leaders who took GhanaWeb's Eastern Regional Correspondent, Michael Oberteye round the broken down facility recalled how the toilet broke down after serving the community for about ten years and has since not been repaired.

“…the thing [toilet] got spoilt. We have constantly reported this to the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly…up till now, nothing has been done about it,” said Mr. Senyemi and called for the renovation of the facility.

The situation, he added has forced residents to consider other options of places of relieving themselves including dug-outs to serve as toilet facilities for use by residents.

Municipal Environment Health Officer (MEHO), Gordon Amevor when contacted discouraged the continuous reliance on public toilets by communities, adding that residents were being encouraged to build simple, affordable household toilets.

"Fact is, we're embracing public toilets too much, we're now embarking on household toilets and everybody should try and do this. We're bringing artisans to help them in so many ways, that's what we're doing now," said Mr. Amevor.

Admitting that the practice of open defecation was a matter of concern in some parts of the municipality without household and public toilets, the MEHO said, "We know, we're aware. The open defecation is going on."

He however said some communities were complying with the household toilet campaign.

The environmental health officer furthered that his department is compiling a comprehensive action plan that will involve the health directorate, the information services department, etc. in a massive education campaign in this direction.

He however warned that offenders of open defecation will be prosecuted.

Assemblyman for Okuenya Electoral Area, Emmanuel Osei expressed regret at the situation but said several efforts to draw the attention of the Assembly to the plight of the people yielded no results.

He said though his electoral area benefitted from one of the 'Ghana First' toilet facilities, it was located in another part of the jurisdiction away from the Okuenya people.

Mr. Osei however said though he's willing to contribute personal funds to fix the toilet, efforts to convince members of the community to support him have proven futile.





Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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