By Patience Gbeze
Accra, Nov. 20, GNA – The Coastal Communities Resilience to Climate and Diarrhoea (C2R-CD) project of the University of Ghana has renewed its commitment to assist coastal communities to access quality groundwater and adequate sanitation systems.
This year’s theme for World Toilet Day was “Making the Invisible Visible” and focused on the impact of poor sanitation on groundwater, and how inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soil, polluting underground water resources.
An official statement signed by Dr Dzidzo Yirenya-Tawiah, the Principal Investigator of the C2R-CD project and copied by the GNA, re-emphasised the need for everyone to have access to a toilet connected to a sanitation system that effectively removes and treats human waste.
He said the link between sanitation and groundwater could not be overlooked because “the transmission of diarrhoea disease is via faecal contamination of drinking water and food sources and is affected by climatic factors such as rainfall, temperature, humidity and drought.”
“Temperature is known to influence diarrhoea by increasing the populations of diarrhoeal pathogens, including various bacteria for example (Fibril cholera and Escherichia coli) and protozoa (e.g. Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora spp and Entamoeba histolytica).
Dr Yerinya-Tawiah, also the Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana, said heavy rainfall with subsequent flooding could increase loadings of faecal matter from areas with poor sanitation facilities into surface waters and lead to outbreaks of diarrhoeal and other water-borne diseases.
The C2R-CD project, led by the IESS, has been collecting water samples from identified water sources within the Eastern and Central coasts of Ghana to identify trends and seasonal variations in water quality in Anyako, Anyanui and Atiteti (Volta Region) of the eastern coast, Opetekwei/Gbegbeyese (Greater Accra Region) and Mumford (Central Region) of the central coast.
The expected outcomes of the study will inform policy formulation and actions by the government of Ghana to improve diarrhoea management.
He said: “The project believes together we can make universal access to toilets by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) end time of 2030 a reality.