Sanitation officers from various districts in the Northern, Savanna, and North East Regions are advocating for the establishment of dedicated sanitation courts to streamline the prosecution of sanitation offenses.
They said this during a two-day training workshop on environmental health prosecution, attended by more than 30 environmental health prosecutors in Tamale.
Nurudeen Norifa Sorseh, a sanitation officer with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, stressed the importance of such specialized courts in expediting sanitation cases, which often face delays when presented in district courts.
Mr Sorseh also underscored the effectiveness of this initiative in dealing with individuals who repeatedly violate sanitation by-laws.
He stated that sanitation cases frequently languish and fail to progress due to the backlog of other cases awaiting hearings and that these delays hinder efforts to bring about behavioural change and enforce sanitation by-laws within communities.
“Therefore, we appeal to the authorities to consider establishing sanitation courts to support our endeavours.”
Sampson Akwettey, the Acting Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation at the Ministry of Sanitation, expressed concerns about the challenges and resources required to create regional sanitation courts.
Instead, he proposed that the ministry collaborate with regional authorities to advocate for dedicated sanitation days in existing courts.
Mr Akwettey explained that sanitation courts entail significant infrastructure and that, for the time being, the ministry can negotiate with existing courts to designate specific days for sanitation-related cases.
He also called on sanitation officers to expedite the handling of sanitation issues to help Ghana reach its 2030 target in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 6, which focuses on sanitation.
He remarked that the latest census data indicate that efforts in addressing sanitation-related issues are yielding results. However, he warned that Ghana will fall short of achieving its SDG target for sanitation if the current pace continues.