Human excreta, collected from homes still using pan latrines is making life uncomfortable for thousands of workers and customers who visit the premises of some companies in the twin-city of Sekondi/Takoradi.
This is because the excreta collected is dumped in the open in a manhole opposite the offices of the Minerals Commission, the regional office of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Labour Office, Survey Department, a technical school, some churches and residential facilities around the area.
The occupants of these facililties have to keep their offices closed to avoid the stench emanating from the manhole on a daily basis.
The Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly has failed to cover the dumping ground, after it had banned the use of pan latrines in homes about a decade ago.
The dumping grounds of excreta around these offices, churches, educational and residential facilities have not been covered and domestic animals feed on the fresh excreta dumped there the previous night.
Investigations by the Daily Graphic indicate that besides dumping of refuse near these offices; ‘night soil carriers’ whose job was to remove the buckets actually dumped the waste in lagoons, nearby bushes and gutters.
The age-old practice of carrying human excreta in pans was outlawed and factored into the bye-laws of the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly more than 10 years ago.
Under the assembly’s urban environmental and sanitation project, it went into agreement with the owners of these structures who still have the pan latrines to assist them to build their toilets.
Under the project, the assembly pays 50 per cent, and owners of the property pay the other 50 per cent. At the end of the project, the STMA was expected to carry out a survey and enforce the law but they have failed to enforce the law and did not block the dumping ground
Many of the houses the Daily Graphic visited still had pan latrines in their homes with the collection point at the back of the house.
Recently, a study conducted by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has revealed that there are still 20,000 pan latrines in Accra.
According to the report, these pan latrines could be found in police quarters and public bungalows in the Accra metropolis, posing health hazards to the people.
The story in the Sekondi/Takoradi is not different
Some of the residents told the Daily Graphic that they were aware of the ban, but they could not afford to pay the 50 per cent of a new toilet in their home, which is why they are still using the pan latrine.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the assembly, the Public Relations officer, Mr John Laste, said it was part of the assembly’s bye-laws to ensure that pan latrine was a thing of the past.
He said even though there was an effort to halt it and people were, therefore, helped to build their own toilets at a discounted price, many failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
Mr Laste sympathised with the offices, which have their frontage being used as dumping ground by night soil carriers.
He gave an assurance that the assembly would visit the place and ensure that the right thing was done .
By Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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