Stakeholders in sanitation in the Greater Accra Metropolis have called for the urgent need to develop alternate faecal sludge and waste water management approaches to address the sanitation problem.
The call was made at a stakeholders’ workshop in Accra to formulate a policy on faecal sludge management to improve upon the national sewerage coverage which is as low as 4.5 per cent.
The workshop was organised by the Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in partnership with the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India.
Participants at the World Bank funded workshop included policy makers, government and non-governmental stakeholders in sanitation.
Faecal sludge management (FSM) is a system that safely collects, transports, and treats faecal sludge (also called septage) from pit latrines, septic tanks or other onsite sanitation facilities to be used for irrigation or soil amendment in agriculture, biogas, biodiesel, and electricity.
Madam Bertha Darteh, the Capacity Building Co-ordinator of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area – Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP), told the Ghana News Agency that FSM was particularly important in quite densely populated areas where much of the population was not connected to sewerage,
She said in many developing countries, however, this service was often not provided at all or not done properly, leading to, among others, surface and groundwater pollution and spreading of pathogens into the environment with its adverse health impacts.
She said the workshop sought to ensure promulgation of national legislation and model bye-laws to strengthen environmental sanitation management, monitoring and evaluation in the metropolis to ensure balance based development.
Dr Mahreen Matto, the Programme Manager of the Centre for Science and Environment, India, led the participants to share their experiences on the impact of poor sanitation on public health and the environment.
Giving examples of best practices from Asia and some African countries, she said despite the fact that sanitation needs were met through onsite technologies for a vast number of people in urban areas, there was no management system in place.
She said it was critical that the management of faecal sludge be addressed as it continued to play an essential role in the management of global sanitation.
Mr Ato Fanyin-Martin, a facilitator and lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, took the participants through waste to energy production as well as additional resource recovery outputs.