Periodic clean up in cities and towns will never address Ghana’s sanitation challenges if poor land and structural management issues are not resolved.

That’s according to the Ghana Institute of Planners. Associate member, Dr. Clifford Amoako says sanitation facilities are unavailable in many communities which require them.

He was speaking at the 47th Annual General Conference in Kumasi. Dr Amoako has thus proposed a national discussion to address the gap.

He cited rapid population growth in the face of poor physical planning and inadequate social infrastructure as causes of bad public sanitation habits.

He said the situation is worsened by lack of individual and communal sanitation consciousness in Ghana.

As at April this year, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly was said to owe waste management service providers 63 million Ghana cedis.

The contractor in charge of the city’s landfill site demanded a minimum of 100,000 Ghana cedis a month from the Assembly to meet monthly operational cost of about 1.4 million Ghana cedis.

Accra Metropolitan Assembly, in 2014, also issued a cheque for 600,000 Ghana cedis to nine waste management contractors.

Dr. Amoako insisted such costs will reduce significantly if the government takes land management seriously. 

“Most district assemblies are spending close 60 to 65 percent of their resources to manage sanitation and even that they are facing problems. This can be solved with planned cities so we’re clear in our minds how much waste is generated and how much land we would need to manage the waste.  We have always had the fundamentals wrong,” he said.

The conference was under the theme: Planned Cities: a Key Factor in Effective Sanitation Service Delivery.

President of the institute, Alfred Kwasi Opoku, bemoaned the reluctance by successive governments to implement various plans meant to address the issue.

They include the 40-year Long-Term National Development Plan, Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Structural Plan of 1992 and the Greater Kumasi Plan 2013.

He advised members of the association to give professional advice when called do so. 
“The fact is that plans prepared wholly by Ghanaians are dusty on the shelves waiting for implementation. Much as we are against the apparent neglect of home-grown capacity for a foreign one, the implementation of a plan goes beyond who prepared it. I urge that we remain technical in our public discourse in order to give professional advice for nation-building,” Mr. Opoku emphasized.

Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, entreated the institute to provide designated sites for sanitation infrastructure for preparation of planning schemes

She admonished the Physical Planning Department to refrain from re-zoning statutory sanitation sites for other uses.