Calls have been intense for attitudinal change among Ghanaians, as well as compliance and enforcement of laws to deal with the sanitation menace in the country.
This need for the citizenry to be responsible and friendly towards the environment, its protection and preservation, to promote healthy living and sound atmosphere to thrive economic activities was made at the launch of the "Sanitation Awareness Campaign" in Accra yesterday.
The nationwide campaignis initiated by newspaper publishers, the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), with sponsorship by sanitation company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the Environmental Services Providers Association (ESPA), together with Zoomlion are partnering GCGL to implement this campaign.
Speaking at the programme, the chairman of the Jospong Group, of which Zoomlion is a subsidiary, Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong pointed out that, currently, the country's challenge in dealing with sanitation menace was not about capacity.
According to him, the private sector has the human capital, infrastructure, and equipment to contain the sanitation issue in the country, and noted that there was the need to see waste as profitable resource and work at making use of it.
Mr Agyepong said that previous campaigns and government interventions aimed at improving sanitation has been challenged mainly by the attitude of many Ghanaians towards accepting and supporting such efforts as well as law enforcement.
"Law enforcement and attitudinal change is needed to solve the sanitation problem, and we should have local solutions to it. It is the responsibility of every citizen of this country to commit to the campaign and support the Ministry and the government to deal with the issue," he said.
The sector Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said, "As a nation, we cannot afford the high socio-economic cost of the poor attitude of some of the citizenry. For example, according to Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank, poor sanitation costs Ghana over US$290 million annually. This sum is equivalent of US$12 per person in Ghana per year or 1.6 per cent of the national GDP."
"The environmental sanitation challenges facing our dear country Ghana, if not addressed will soon become endemic and hence the urgent need to decisively deal with them now. Core among these challenges, is the poor attitude of the citizenry," she stated, and called for change in that regards.
She then expressed her appreciation to the GCGL for its efforts in supporting the Ministry's drive in ensuring clean, safe and healthy living and working environment for every compatriot, and urged them to sustain the campaign.
"As part of our strategy to continue to accurately inform and impact the lives of Ghanaians and our audience member network, we have earmarked this year to drive public awareness on improved sanitation nationwide, hence, this sanitation campaign," Mr Ato Afful, the Managing Director of GCGL said.
"It is our expected outcome that Ghana will embrace this campaign and make it our own. This is a national campaign and it belongs to all of us and we need to commit to this community by community, district by district and region by region," he added.