Students of St. Martin’s Senior High School in the Eastern Region have benefited from Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and waste management sensitisation programme organised by waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, in collaboration with the Schools Health Education Programme (SHEP) of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
The programme, which is currently ongoing in selected Senior High Schools (SHSs) across the country, seeks to intensify measures for good sanitary practises among students through education and donation of waste management logistics.
The Nsawam Municipal SHEP Coordinator of the GES, Mr. Stephen Dugbatey, in a presentation explained that “Children lose 272 million school days each year due to diarrhoea globally and an estimated one in three school-aged children in the developing world are infested with intestinal worms”.
He said Ghana was seriously lagging behind as total access to sanitation was just 13%, attributing this to the fact that 59% of the population use community or shared toilets.
Mr Dugbatey charged the students to develop good sanitary practices.
“Effective behaviour change programmes are critical to the success and sustainability of all water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. Schools must practise handwashing with soap, safe handling of drinking water, safe excreta disposal, environmental sanitation and personal hygiene including menstrual hygiene,” he emphasised.
A Senior Communications Officer of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Mr Adams Mohammed Mahama, explained to the students that a major challenge to waste management was the negative attitudes developed by citizens towards sanitation.
“Sanitation is a shared responsibility, and it behoves all stakeholders to play their part for a clean country. Government has partnered with the private sector to establish the needed infrastructure for waste management and this effort will be thwarted if we the citizens do not change our attitude towards the environment,” he said.
He indicated that “Zoomlion has established ultra-modern Integrated Recycling and Composting Plants (IRECoPs) in Accra, Kumasi, adding that these projects were also currently ongoing in all the other regions to ensure that we create value out of the waste we generate by recycling them to help keep Ghana clean.”
He said, “indiscriminate disposal of faecal waste into water bodies has been resolved by establishing a state-of-the-art sewerage treatment plant in Accra, Kumasi and other parts of the country.”
The Zoomlion team donated waste bins to the school and tasked them to use them to improve solid waste management on campus.
The Head master of St. Martin’s SHS, Rev. Benjamin Ohene, thanked Zoomlion and GES for the programme, assuring that the training and the logistics will help improve sanitation on the campus.
He urged the students to demonstrate good sanitation behaviours by ensuring that their dormitories were always kept clean.
He made an appeal to the Nsawam Municipal Assembly to relocate the site for the communal waste container, which was closer to the school.