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Condoms, pads, foetus in faecal sludge damaging treatment plants

BY: Alberto Mario Noretti, ELMINA
Last year for instance, 18,003 used condoms were found in the sludge.

THE processing of faeces into clean water for farming and irrigation in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) is  facing serious setbacks due to the massive volumes of used condoms and sanitary pads in the sludge.

Last year for instance, 18,003 used condoms were found in the sludge.
Worse, four foetuses have so far been found in the sludge since 2018 during various stages of processing.
Apart from condoms and sanitary pads, other foreign materials in the faecal matter, such as glass, textiles, identity cards, wood, gravel and metals are seriously affecting the operations of the processing company, Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited.

The Quality Control Officer of the company, Dennis Ofori-Amanfo, disclosed these at the just-ended Mole XXXIII Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Conference in Elmina in the Central Region.
Conference agenda

The annual conference focuses on Ghana’s commitment to WASH services towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
About 200 participants from civils society organisations, academia, the media, government officials and representatives of the private sector attended the five-day programme organised by the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS).

The theme was: Ghana’s commitment to WASH – Connecting systems to bridge service delivery gaps.
Mr Ofori-Amanfo who was making a presentation on the theme said sometimes, money, wallets, paper wrappers, carton, broom sticks and cellular phones were found among foreign materials in the sludge.
Scary trend

“Unless the trend is reversed, we will soon drown in a sea of our own faeces,” he warned.
He said the foreign materials were causing damage to the multi-million dollar plants of the company at Lavender Hill in Accra, and increasing the cost and time of treatment.
Mr Ofori-Amanfo entreated households to dispose of condoms and sanitary pads and other forms of waste into the appropriate bins and not into water-closets.

Dumping of refuse into toilets should be stopped and the proper construction of cesspit tanks for onsite sanitation systems at various homes and other areas should be emphasised and practiced, he insisted.
Cesspit tanks
Further, Mr Ofori-Amanfo said the use of automotive oils in cesspit tanks had to be stopped and the hauling of unwarranted liquid waste such as paints, acids and other industrial hazardous chemicals by the cesspit emptier should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Mr Ofori-Amanfo called on the Environmental Protection Agency to take a firm stance to ensure that industries had onsite treatment plants for managing their wastes from their activities.

The participants, in a communique issued at the end of the conference, called on the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) to take immediate steps to expedite action towards establishing the National Sanitation Authority and the National Sanitation Fund.

The conference called on the Ministry of Finance and MSWR to take immediate steps to develop a framework for managing the Sanitation and Pollution Levy.

The participants urged the Ministry of Finance to render accounts on inflows and disbursements of the levy.