Source: GNA - “Half of Ghana’s mounting health problems could be solved if we get our sanitation right,” Dr Joseph Siaw-Agyepong, Executive Chairman of the Jospong and Zoomlion Group of Companies has concluded.
His position was indicated in his paper titled, “Sanitation and Waste Management in the Post MDG Era” presented at the first National Food and Sanitation Conference 2015 organised by the Ho Polytechnic with the theme, “Food Hygiene, Sanitation and Safety in the Post MDG Era.”

His Paper indicated that the standards envisaged by Goal Seven (7) of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 2000-2015 and Goal six (6) of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030 were proofs of the fact that sanitation and good health were inseparable.

Goal seven of the MDGs sought to ensure environmental sustainability with key indicators such as, halving the proportion of the Ghanaian population without improved drinking water and sanitation as well as improve the lives of slum dwellers. 

Goal six of the SDGs on the other hand has eight targets to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

By the SDGs standards, 2030 should see the achievement of access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and an end to open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

By the same period there should be improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminate dumping and minimize release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe refuse…

The 2030 deadline is also expected to expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in waste and sanitation related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and re-use technologies.

The period also envisages support and strengthening of participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.

“As a nation, how do we take advantage of these new targets and timelines to improve the health and wellbeing of our people? Dr Siaw-Agyepong asked.

“Our people must be made to take responsibility for our own sanitation and environmental wellbeing. Everybody must be sanitation conscious right from home to our activities outside particularly those responsible for providing food either as caterers in restaurants, food vendors…or those responsible for our school feeding programme.

“We must take advantage of technology to explore more ways of turning waste into wealth through recycling and generating waste into much needed energy to power our industries and promote growth.

“We must take our sanitation into our own hands and by the set date of 2030, Ghana will not only be clean, green and healthy”, but be able to pay the citizenry to generate water, begin to segregate waste and generate renewable energy to power the nation, he said. 

Dr Siaw-Agyepong’s analyses of Ghana’s sanitation and waste management post 2015 focused on Accra, “because that is where the bulk of our sanitation problems sit and it is also representative of the situation in our major cities.”
 


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