The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has set up a taskforce to fight against open defecations in the coastal belts of the country.
The Minister of Tourism, Catherine Afeku during a press briefing called on the various Regional Ministers, MMDCE’s and Chiefs around the coastal areas to help fight open defecation.
She said ‘the time to fight open defecation around tourism sites in the Greater Accra, Central, Volta Regions begins today’.
Hon. Catherine Afeku said an inter ministerial committee comprising Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Sanitation, Local Government, Fisheries, Information as well as Ministry of Special Development Initiative have been constituted to fight the canker.
Ghana will have to intensify the fight against open defecation or risks losing tourists which may eventually lead to the collapse of the tourism industry in the country.
This is because, tourists visiting the country are gradually getting fed up with the insanitary state of most of the tourist sites, particularly the beaches.
Barely a week ago, there has been a specific video circulating on various social media platforms of people defecating along the beaches of Cape Coast.
Residents around the Cape Coast Castle, including fishermen who incidentally seek their livelihood from the same spot have turned the seaside behind the castle into an open defecation ground.
They ease themselves in the water and use same water to wash their buttocks even in the presence of tourists.
This act, according to the tourists is unacceptable and must be discouraged.
The Assistant Director of the Cape Coast Castle, however says the activities of residents along the beach is causing embarrassment to guides at the site, hence he bows his head in shame anytime tourists enquire about open defecation at the beach around the Castle.
“In fact it’s difficult to tell them why they’re defecating there because it’s an embarrassment, shameful, disgraceful, distasteful, and therefore, we just try to tell them we have tried our effort to move them away but they will not yield.
The absence of proper toilet facilities in most parts of the country, particularly in areas along the coastal belts has over the years led to a conversion of the coastline into a free arena for defecation.
Beaches which are supposed to be places of relaxation for tourists are brimming with pollutants including faecal matter and plastics, among others.
The practice poses a serious threat to the health of citizens and has also become a major disincentive to the growth of the tourism sector as tourists are shying away from patronising the beaches.
A World Bank report also disclosed that, one in five Ghanaians practices open defecation and the practice makes Ghana lose $79 million annually.
The Minister of Tourism promised that new toilet facilities are going to be built around various tourist sites across the country.