RAWDP is meeting with a group of NGOs in Accra to run a sanitation campaign on Jamestown beach. Once considered to be one of Accra’s most famous beaches, Jamestown beach is today an arena for open defecation. Off in the distance, one can spot many more residents dropping their pants, squatting and freeing their bowels. Shortly after they leave, ocean waves wash away their waste. Walking down the beach, one has to carefully pick one’s steps to avoid stepping in faeces. With no toilet facilities, people turn to bushes, drains, fields and even outlawed pan latrines to defecate. The pan latrine is a portable toilet made up of a bucket around which is fitted a wooden frame or seat with a hole in the middle. When the bucket is full, users pay somebody to dump it in a waste centre. Eventually the waste is pumped out to the sea. Ghana’s Supreme Court banned the use of these latrines in July 2008, saying they violated people’s dignity, and ordered city authorities to arrest and prosecute users. The court also ordered the government to build public toilets across the capital and subsidise the construction of toilets in private homes, measures that have yet to be implemented. With four million people without access to a toilet and 4.5 million with no sewage facilities, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN children’s fund (UNICEF) recently ranked Ghana the fourth most unsanitary country in Africa in a total of 52 judged, and the second dirtiest out of 15 West African countries. Every year, the health ministry reports more than 400,000 out-patient cases of sanitation-related diseases, including diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera and hepatitis, all leading to about 65,000 deaths. Rural Africa Water Development Project (RAWDP) intends to mount sanitation billboards, print relevant leaflets and organise workshops around the beach.
RAWDP to Promote Sanitation in Jamestown Beach