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A story was told by WATERisLIFE of a mother who had the cutest little boy. He was about one year old. Naturally, the mother was asked about the boy’s name. A question that was not unreasonable in any way. The mother responded with a shock as though she had never heard such a question before. The child had no name. They just called him ”boy” or ”blessing”

He did not have a name because he would probably die. Many villagers do not name their babies until they are two years old. 1 in 5 children dying before the age of five is a norm for families in many villages. Waterborne disease is the leading cause of early death.

Two girls were raped while walking to fetch water in Uganda. At 14 and 17 both became pregnant after being raped and are now mothers living at home with different future than they envisioned. It is very outrageous to relate the cause to water but that is the sad truth.

A more intriguing story was told of a 5 member local water committee. One by one, the men and women introduced themselves; the chairperson, a mechanic, a tax collector, health and hygiene officer. The last introduction came from a shy 15-year-old girl. “My name is Natalia.  I am the president.

Having access to clean water gives her more time to spend in school making her better educated than many of the adults in her community.

These stories are enough indications that water is indeed life.

Although several African countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Mauritania, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Morocco, South Africa just to mention a few have enacted laws related to the ban on the use, manufacture, and importation of single-use of plastic bags. There are still millions of plastics produced in Africa.

“The oceans are getting more and more sick,” say’s Erik Solheim, Executive Director, United Nations Environmental Program. “It is estimated that by 2030 the weight of plastics in the oceans will be the same as fish”

The little available to communities have been polluted through open defecation. We can not tackle sanitation without giving airtime to water. Clean water and sanitation are cardinal engines of national development.

Truth be told, the 15-year sanitation project under the Sustainability Development Goals is progressing at a decreasing rate. Sanitation in Africa is not getting full attention from its citizens at all.

How can a country be setting just a single day in the year to clean filth when over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year? A tour to Old fadama, Glefe, Chorkor and other areas in Ghana will show the need to practice sanitation every day.

Over 40% of people living in Kumasi, a city in Ghana rely on a public toilet. However, there is only one toilet available for every 1000 people.
A city which for many decades has been a hub for Ghana’s gold mining activities. Amazingly, a greater chunk of rich people who have reached national and international status are Akans.

We have about 11 years more to meet the sustainable goals. 3oo millions tons of plastics are produced every year and the population is increasing speedingly. Over 115 people in Africa die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water.

We need lasting solution if we want to meet the status “developed”. What is really the way forward?

Benedicta Dorcas Tetteh


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