Human Excreta Management in Poor Peri-Urban Communities – Case Study of Prampram Township

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Human excreta management has long been a problem in developing countries with most people resorting to unimproved sanitation practices. The sanitation situation over the past decade has improved slightly but has been more difficult with the rapid increase in population especially in urban centers where about half of the population lives as against little improvement in infrastructure. As at 2008, the country’s population stood at 23.4 million, out of which an alarming 5.4 million Ghanaians were still practicing open field defecation. This study seeks to assess and improve human excreta management in poor peri-urban areas, with Prampram as the case study. The main objective of this research was to identify the challenges with the management of human excreta, investigate barriers with both the technologies in use and existing management practices and propose sustainable solutions for improvement, in the Lower West, Lower East, Olowe and Kley communities of Prampram. In gathering information for this research, questionnaires were administered to households, key informants within the study area were interviewed and focus group discussions were also held. The study revealed that generally 43.13% of the correspondents within the study area had access to household toilet, whereas 56.88% depended on available public toilet facilities or resorted to other available sanitation options such as the open field or tying in polythenes and mixing them with the household waste. The predominant technology identified in the household was the ventilated improved pit, followed by the water closet facility. For the predominant technology employed for the public toilet facility is the Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit. The Assembly members for the various electoral areas were currently those responsible for the management of the public toilet facilities although the District Health and Sanitation department were making efforts to take over. The VIP’s generally performed better than the KVIP, as they barely had odour and fly problems. The research showed that technical regulations regarding the use of the KVIP were not being adhered to and that resulted in the odour, heat and flies problem experienced by users. Management of the public facilities was below standard. One could easily see the faecal matter at the brim of the squat hole on visit to the facility. These problems made users prefer the open field and other unimproved modes of human excreta management. It is recommended that the public toilets attendant be given some education on the use of the KVIP and the general populace also educated on the need for good sanitation practices. Efforts will also have to be made to make the public facilities user friendly for the aged and disabled. The District must embark on regular monitoring and inspection of the toilet facility and give priority to the development of sanitation. The Environmental Health and Sanitation Department must be equipped to work independently in enforcing the sanitation by laws without any political interference.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Department of Civil Engineering. April,2013