No Political Will to Spend on Sanitation; It’s Just Talk – Prof. Chris Gordon
The Director of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana – Legon, Professor Chris Gordon, has lamented the lack of state support to deal with sanitation challenges more forcefully.
He views this as the fundamental reason Ghana has not overcome its sanitation challenges despite the many declarations over the years, most notably the Akufo-Addo administration’s vision to make Ghana’ capital, Accra, the cleanest city in Africa by the end of his first term.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, he noted as an example that, his institute, which was founded in 2008 at the behest of President John Kufuor, has received virtually no support.
“No government since that time, apart from some small money from Atta-Mills, has ever given the institute any money to carry out its function. It is a clear example of a lack of putting your money where your mouth is.”
“I’m getting a little disillusioned about all the noise we make about how bad this thing is; meanwhile very little effort is put in place.”
Aside from the lack of commitment from government, Prof. Gordon also said sanitation issues bored down to a question of poor attitudes.
“The issue has come down to what is considered to be normal in Ghana. It is normal in Ghana to pack things in a plastic bag and take it to work or the nearest gutter and dump it. It is normal to drink from water sachets and throw it out of the window of your car. These are behavioural and attitudinal things that any right-thinking human being will carry out appropriately. Even cats bury their faeces.”
On the Citi Breakfast Show, the issue of composting as a solution to waste management was brought up as a viable solution to the challenge.
Prof. Gordon agreed with the sentiment, which he said was a good option for the environment and Ghana’s unemployment situation.
He referenced a project at Amasaman where 50 people have been trained to collect market waste and convert to compost and “they are making enough money from this to look after themselves.”
“The soils of Ghana are totally degraded; a lack of organic matter. A lack of water retention capacity. A lack of nutrients. All of these things, compost will fix. Fertilizer will not fix… So why don’t we give the same sort of subsidy considerations we give to fertilizers for farmers to people producing compost so that the farmers can actually improve the soils of Ghana,” he added.