Environmental sanitation management in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area.

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October, 2010
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Sanitation and good hygiene are fundamental to health, survival, growth and development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have set us on a common course to push back poverty, inequality, hunger and illness. Having a healthy urban environment sets a city on track for development. Kumasi is currently experiencing poor environmental sanitation. Open spaces and many other private and public places are littered with garbage, which in most cases clogs drains thereby creating conditions for disease vectors and posing health risks to inhabitants. The main objective of the study is to examine the causes of the environmental sanitation conditions in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its effect on the health of the people. The study adopted the case study method to understand the situation in six residential suburbs and the Central Business District (CBD) in Kumasi. Administration of questionnaires to households in these communities enabled the researcher to understand the people‟s assessment of the environmental sanitation conditions in these suburbs in particular and the Kumasi metropolis in general. In addition, the availability of environmental sanitation facilities and services and the awareness of individuals about environmental sanitation regulations in the metropolis were analysed. Furthermore, interviews were conducted in selected institutions and five private waste management companies involved in environmental sanitation in Kumasi. These include the Waste Management Department, the Metro Environmental Health Department and the Town and Country Planning Department. From the interviews, the challenges faced by these institutions and companies in managing environmental sanitation in Kumasi were revealed. The study revealed differences in sanitation behaviour among residents from the various suburbs. However, the general environmental sanitation condition in Kumasi is not up to expectations. Individuals, households and businesses (commercial entities) do not tend to prioritize environmental sanitation. As such, people have poor attitude towards sanitation. Coupled with this are inefficiencies in service provision by the private waste management companies who are contracted to ensure good sanitation in the city. The Departments within the Metropolitan Assembly responsible for managing the environment are also ill-resourced. The poor environmental conditions challenge the Assembly‟s efforts at meeting the health and environment components of the Millennium Development Goals. The study revealed that, environmentally related diseases contribute to 80 per cent of hospital admissions in Kumasi. Poor environmental sanitation cripples national development. People, households and communities lose time and money to illness, workers produce less, save and invest less and live shorter lives. It also imperils environmental sustainability, particularly, water quality and aquatic biodiversity. Some recommendations pointed to the need for intensive public education to promote a positive attitude for environmental sanitation in Kumasi. In addition, enforcement of the environmental sanitation bye-laws is also recommended to make every individual responsible for good environmental sanitation in the metropolis.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of Planning Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in Partial fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Science .