Support govt achieve SDGs – Minister urges stakeholders
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has urged stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector to extend more support to the government to achieve the UN sustainable development goal (SDG) Six.
Otherwise known as Global Goal Six, it seeks to “ensure available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030.
With less than 10 years to achieve the SDGs, the minister said it was important for partners in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector to partner her outfit to rid the country of filth as well as provide potable water and improved sanitation for all.
The minister was speaking at the second national dialogue on sanitation in Accra yesterday on the theme: “Roadmap on sanitation solutions towards the cleaner city agenda of government.”
It was jointly organised by the MSWR and the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water project (GAMA-SWP), in collaboration with the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) and the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS).
Ms Dapaah further said the ministry had begun some reforms to link the CWSA and the urban water department to help address water challenges in the country.
The minister, who did not state what the reforms entailed, said when implemented, they would make water available to an additional 1.2 million people at the community level.
She said her ministry would continue to collaborate with other stakeholders to achieve the government’s agenda of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
Ms Dapaah further called for collective efforts to stop illegal mining which polluted water sources, saying “we need to up our game to stop those who do illegal mining to preserve our water bodies, if not by some 10 years time, we will all cry”.
The Chairman of CONIWAS, Mr Yaw Attah Arhin, called for the appropriate institutional structures to facilitate the delivery of WASH services.
He reminded the government of the need to set up a sanitation authority to manage that sector.
Additionally, the chairman urged the government to implement its proposed sanitation courts to deal with sanitation offences.
Mr Attah commended the government for instituting a sanitation levy to address funding gaps for sanitation in the country and proposed that part of the tax should be channelled into tackling the menace of open defecation.
For her part, the Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ms Ama Ofori Antwi, said the time had come for the government to come out with subsidies and tax exemption regimes for companies that engaged in recycling of waste to enable them to meet their operational costs.
Ms Antwi also entreated metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to provide more landfill sites for waste disposal.
She said strict application of environmental laws by MMDAs and an aggressive campaign on attitudinal change must be embarked upon to improve on the sanitation situation in their respective areas.