Rising open defecation, stinking refuse dumps sum up insanitary conditions in Gyerkiti

Wed, 28 Apr 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Correspondence from Eastern Region:

Some residents of Gyerkiti in the Eastern Region have resorted to open defecation as they await the completion of two modern toilet facilities began some three years ago.

A dilapidated previous toilet was razed down to pave way for the construction of a new one. Unfortunately, work on its replacement has stalled with works on another located in another part of the community, progressing at a snail’s pace.

Residents, most of whom do not have toilet facilities in their homes, have therefore resorted to the backward practice of defecating in surrounding bushes and in open spaces.

Some of them in an interview with GhanaWeb said though the situation was a big bother for them, they however have no option than to find an alternative – open defecation.

They say the completion of a decent toilet facility, could help improve personal and environmental hygiene amongst them.

Mmrantehene of Gyerkiti, kwadjo agyei said the absence of a toilet in the community accounted for the situation.

“The fact is, everybody goes to the bush, nobody is telling us anything, we also don’t receive any assistance from anybody and this is of great concern to us and this has resulted in cases of malaria in our community.”

According to him, though they discourage members of the community from engaging in the act, this has proven unsuccessful due to absence of a toilet facility in the community and in most homes.

“We talk to them but the majority of them do not have the facility in their homes so even if you try, it doesn’t work out.”

Twenty-seven year old Sakyibea Rita lives in Gyerkiti. Rita who openly disclosed to GhanaWeb that she resorts to easing herself in the bush called on authorities to expedite action on the two toilets under construction to stop the practice as it posed serious health risks to them.

“When it rains, the fecal matter is washed into the groundwater we fetch, that also gives us sicknesses,” said Sakyibea. “Some defecate close to the water bodies so the moment it rains, it’s washed into the water.”

Asked if there was a toilet facility in her home, the young woman answered in the negative, boldly admitting that the entire household resorted to the bushes.

“We all go to the bush. We are many in this house, more than 15, everybody goes to the bush because we don’t have a toilet and the fowls also scavenge on the fecal matter and come home with it.”

Another resident in the community, 26-year-old Mustapha Mohammed also told GhanaWeb that the entire community resorts to the bush or the toilet facility at a nearby basic school.

“There is no toilet here apart from the school toilet which everyone uses. Others also resort to the bushes. We want the government to come and help us. We know they are doing their best but they should and assist us too.”

Assemblyman for the Gyerkiti Electoral Area, Seth Ofori in an interview called on stakeholders to ensure the completion of the projects to safeguard the health of the people.

“Currently, we have two public toilet facilities under construction but prior to that, we don’t have any place of convenience for the community so it’s all about open defecation for my people so currently, we are appealing to the government and all other industry players to come to our aid to finish this project under construction otherwise, very soon all they’ll hear of is cholera and other infectious diseases breaking up in Gyerkiti,” said Seth Ofori.

According to him, the people, the majority of whom do not have places of convenience in their homes, have resorted to easing themselves in surrounding bushes.

“People of the community get up every morning and walk into the bushes, some resort to friends who have these facilities in their homes, but otherwise, most of them go to the bushes to ease themselves.”

On whether the actions of the community members were not exposing them to health implications, Seth Ofori who cited reported cases of typhoid fever in the community fears there could soon be an outbreak of cholera or typhoid if nothing was done about the situation.

Poor waste disposal system

“Currently, the refuse dump is and we’ve written to other players to come and help us move it but as at now, we’ve not gotten any prompt response so we’re still in need of support to clear this one,” seth ofori told GhanaWeb.

With no refuse container for the people to dump their refuse into, they have no option but to create a refuse dump close to their homes.

Neighbouring homes and others far from the dump are forced to endure the stench on a daily basis with its attendant house-flies.

As part of efforts to contain the situation, the Assemblyman said periodic communal labours are organized to burn the refuse, an action that is not enough to contain the huge heap of garbage.

The Assemblyman and the residents feared the situation could lead to an outbreak of diseases and therefore appealed to the Asuogyaman District Assembly to assist them in relocating the refuse dump or provide them with refuse containers.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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