Ho — THIRTY per cent of the 21,438 public basic schools in the country, have no toilet facilities.
Similarly, 1,631 out of the 9,064 private basic schools in Ghana have no toilet facilities.
This affects more than 8,000 basic schools and about 2.5 million children in Ghana.
Mr Attah Arhin, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Technical Coordinator of World Vision International, Ghana, disclosed these at the just ended Volta Ghana Journalists Association awards ceremony in Ho.
According to him, the country needs US$147million to provide decent toilet facilities for all public basic schools in the country, yet the situation was not receiving the needed attention from policy makers.
Mr Arhin pointed out that the sanitation situation in healthcare facilities was no different from what prevailed in schools.
"Many healthcare facilities do not have decent toilet facilities and this obviously poses a serious threat to healthcare delivery in Ghana," he added.
Mr Arhin said that about 3,600 children die each year in Ghana from diarrhoea and even more from other preventable diseases.
Almost 23 per cent of children in Ghana suffered from stunting and chronic malnutrition linked to poor water and sanitation, he added.
Mr Arhin said that Ghana lost more than GH¢ 1.45 billion as a result of poor sanitation and an additional GH¢395 million as a result of open defecation.
Touching on solid waste, Mr Arhin stated that almost 14,000 tonnes of solid waste was generated per day, and an estimated five million tonnes a year.
Meanwhile, plastic waste constituted 14 per cent of the total waste generated, amounting to about 1.7 million tonnes a year.
Out of the total waste generated, he said, approximately 70 per cent was managed through door to door collection and the use of communal containers.
However, less than five per cent of the collected waste was recycled, although 36 per cent could be recycled, and only two per cent of plastic waste was being recycled.
"Ghana has developed some of the finest policies and strategies for combating the liquid, solid and plastic waste menace, yet the commitment to implementing these policies and strategies backed by the necessary investments was a bane," Mr Arhin complained.
For instance, he said, the implementation of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach towards ending open defecation and increasing access to household toilet facilities was not receiving the appropriate financial support.
"There are only four engineered landfills in Ghana which are located in Tamale, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Kpone, near Tema.
"The general condition of these landfills, especially the one at Kpone, leaves much to be desired, while the poor management of the landfills, coupled with the poor access roads, make it very difficult for trucks to tip off refuse.
The situation, Mr Arhin noted, was worsened by the 'unfortunate' attitudes and behaviours among the citizenry towards the environment.
He called on government to consider making environmental sanitation the pivot around which all national development initiatives would revolve.
"While pursuing a comprehensive behaviour change programme to re-orient the psyche of citizens, steps must be taken to ensure that land use and sanitation related offences are punished to serve as a deterrent," he added.