The World Bank has approved $125 million to support a five-year project of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) to build the capacities of its environmental officers to prosecute sanitation offences in courts.
In 2015, the World Bank provided funds for the project to be piloted in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions with a $150 million over a five-year period.
The Programme Manager of the MSWR, Charlotte Akwaah Adjei Marfo, disclosed this at the end of a two-day workshop for 40 environmental officers drawn from two regions in Wa last Saturday.
She emphasised that enforcement of sanitation laws would go a long way to improve sanitation conditions in the country which would help prevent disasters such as floods, when it rained.
The workshop for environmental officers drawn from the Upper West and East regions marked the take-off of the second phase of the project scheduled to end in 2024.
Some of the topics discussed at the workshop were the jurisdiction of the courts, code of ethics for the environmental health prosecutors, summary trial of cases, drafting of summons and charge sheets among others.
The project is in line with the government’s strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.
The Deputy Director of the MSWR, Kweku Quansah said it had been noted that the inability of environmental officers to prosecute sanitation offences contributed to the filth in the environment.
This, he stated, was due to the fact that districts do not have their bye-laws gazette, thus making it difficult for environmental officers to prosecute the cases in court.
In such cases, he said the confidence of the environmental officers was low.
As such, Mr Quansah said the MSWR will start by ensuring that all their bye-laws were properly gazetted after which the documents will be made available to the officers for their study.
He said the proper prosecution of offenders would provide the tidy environment that was required to provide a good sanitation and safe water for society.
The Regional Head of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, Freda Naah called on officers to take the workshop seriously since they who would ensure the neatness of their communities.
Mrs Naah said prosecution of offenders had not been enforced over the years, hence “we can see such things such as mountains of rubbish and choked gutters in our communities.”