General News of Tuesday, 6 January 2015
Local Government Minister, Julius Debrah has hinted of a possible end of the National Sanitation Day (NSD) exercise by April.
The NSD campaign, which was launched on September 17, 2014 by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, has been criticized by Local Governance expert George Kyei Baffuor as unsustainable.
The former President of the National Association of Local Authorities in Ghana (NALAG) said, “it is not sustainable to have Ghanaians come out every first Saturday of the month to clean their environment”.
According to him, despite the good intentions by the Ministry, the campaign would fail if the local assemblies were not given the needed resources to drive it.
“If it is driven by the Ministry, it is going to be a fiasco,” George Kyei Baffuor told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, Kojo Yankson Tuesday, January 6, 2014.
He blamed the central government for delaying in releasing funds for the assemblies, which has partly compounded the sanitation challenges in some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
However, contributing to the discussion via the telephone, Mr. Julius Debrah emphasized the import of the campaign is to change people’s attitude towards environmental sanitation.
“We are only asking for people to out of a whole month, dedicate three hours to clean up their own environment which includes their own homes…that’s why we’ve got the campaign,” the Minister explained.
According to him, his Ministry could announce an end to the campaign if it is satisfied with attitudinal change to the environment.
“If sometime in April [or] March or any point in time that we all realise that Ghanaians have bought into the idea…we will all be very happy.
He said the Government is also working with private sanitation contractors and the assemblies to address the issues relating to dumping sites.
“All those things coming on board and everybody playing their role the way they ought to play, then this campaign will probably end very early than we are expecting,” he said.
The National Sanitation Day was introduced with the aim of instilling attitudinal change in Ghanaians, to clean their environment and control the indiscriminate way of dumping refuse in their communities.
The exercise is held on the first Saturday of every month in response to the horrific cholera outbreak that claimed more than 150 lives and infected over 17,000 people- the worst in 30 years.
The 3rd edition was observed on January 3, in the Ashanti Region in recognition of the commitment and dedication of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to environmental sanitation. The next Sanitation Day exercise will be on February 7, with a special focus on the Northern Region.