The Omanhene of New Juaben, Daasebre Professor (Emeritus) Oti Boateng, has called for the involvement of communities in the fight against insanitary conditions in the country.
He said without the involvement of the people who were the main stakeholders, the sanitation drive might not succeed.
The Omanhene made the call at the Graphic- Zoomlion sanitation dialogue series in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, last Friday on the theme: "Keep Ghana Clean."
It was to sensitise the people to their civic responsibility of keeping their environment clean and avoid littering their surroundings.
Daasebre Boateng also expressed displeasure over the practice of open defecation and urged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure that the phenomenon was stopped at their various communities.
The menace, he said, was not only an eyesore, but had also contributed to the periodic outbreak of communicable diseases such as malaria, typhoid and cholera in parts of the country.
The Omanhene said after more than 60 years of independence, the country must not be tolerating any form of open defecation and, therefore, called for severe punishment of offenders to serve as a deterrent.
He also appealed to the people to change their attitude towards environmental sanitation by ensuring that they always keep their surroundings tidy.
Daasebre Boateng, however, said there was the need for a continuous campaign on proper sanitation practices to drum home the consequences of filth to the health of the people, adding that there must be a sustainable social intervention on sanitation by the government as well.
He further said that a survey conducted in February last year which report was contained in his latest book, "Implementing the Root-based Development", mentioned the sanitation challenges the New Juaben Traditional Area was grappling with.
It also included the fact that more than 52 per cent of residents did not have access to medical doctors when they visited health facilities.
For his part, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, in a speech read on his behalf by the Municipal Chief Executive of New Juaben South, Mr Isaac Appaw-Gyasi, said efforts were being put in place to make the region one of the cleanest in the country.
As part of the measures, he said the Jospong Group of Companies, in collaboration with the government, had secured a five-acre land for the construction of a recycling plant to help deal with waste management in the region.
Mr Acheampong lauded the GCGL and Zoomlion for championing the cause to "Keep Ghana Clean" across all 16 regions in the country and entreated individuals and organisations to lend support to the initiative.
The Graphic team, comprising the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah, and the Director of Finance, Mr Samuel Essel, later paid a courtesy call on Daasebre Oti Boateng to thank him for his support for the programme.