Public latrines not for local residents: VR Environmental Health and Sanitation Office

Those who reside in communities without their own toilets are infringing  on the rights of others,  the Volta Regional Environmental Health Director (REHD), Stella Kumedzro, has said.

She explained that public latrines are meant exclusively for use by people in transit and not local residents.

“Toilet and sanitation are now a human rights issue and those who reside in the communities without their own toilets are infringing on the rights of others,” she said.

In an interview to mark World Toilet Day (WTD) Ms Kumedzro said that those who engaged in open defecation, for instance, were creating a nuisance in the communities with the offensive odour from the excrement.

Further, they posed health threats to the community from the run-offs from the excrement in times of rains and flies which spread it in the neighbourhood, the REHD said.

The day is an official United Nations international observance day to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
Ms Kumedzro said the region had a household population of 491,373, out of which only 285,180, constituting 54 per cent, had latrines.

In the regional capital Ho, she said, out of the 59,594 households, only 27,415, comprising 47 per cent, had latrines.

The REHD said that trend did not guarantee the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 which aimed at ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

The Environmental Health Director announced that the Regional Environmental and Sanitation Office had trained about 20 environmental health prosecutors to deal swiftly with sanitation offenders in court to bring sanity in the communities.

“As a priority, landlords whose properties are without toilets will be processed for court; likewise school proprietors who fail to provide adequate toilets in their institutions,” she added.
Pursuant to that, Ms Kumedzro said a task force from her outfit was set to embark on an exercise to inspect schools and introduce district sanitation league tables to name and shame municipal and district assemblies which failed to meet the acceptable health and environmental standards.

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