By: Evans Attah Akangla| ignewss| Ho
Inside Ghana News Service (IGNEWSS) has discovered that some unemployed youth, residing in the Ho main Lorry Park of the Volta regional capital, have converted a partially closed, dilapidated old public toilet into their homes.
Upon confronting some of them to understand why they chose to occupy the facility, they expressed their anger towards the Ho Municipal Assembly for failing to provide them with a place to live, given their lack of shelter for survival.
They declared their determination not to vacate the premises until the Assembly arranged suitable accommodation for them, citing their difficult work as potters (Kayayes) in the market and the station.
Meanwhile, residents and travelers who typically use the facility have reportedly faced threats and theft from these youths, who are allegedly involved in drug use and other unscrupulous behaviors, posing a security threat, especially during the night.
IGNEWSS found approximately nine (9) youth, both male and female, who identified themselves as head potters (Kayayes), occupying the facility. They were observed selling branded sachet alcoholic drinks (Fire, K20) and cigarettes during the visit.
Their appearance was described as fierce, and their suspected engagement in a deviant lifestyle raised concerns about insecurity in the central business area.
When interviewed, they claimed to be taking care of the place by sweeping and ensuring visitors keep the area clean.
They argued that their presence helped maintain sanitary conditions, emphasizing their lack of alternative places and jobs as reasons for remaining there.
The reporter noted that the condition of the toilet did not reflect the image of an “oxygen city” and posed a potential health risk to the market and surrounding people if authorities ignored the situation.
Transport Union and PROTOA representatives in the main station expressed concern about the operations of these youths in the area.
They criticized the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and the Ghana Police Service for their inability to remove the youths.
Residents and drivers strongly urged authorities to address the situation, describing the toilet facility as a “time bomb” that could pose serious health dangers.
They questioned why the newly completed market structures, including toilet facilities, remained unused within the market space and the station.
Some suggested that government failures affected the effectiveness of local authorities at the municipal level.
They called on authorities to take action to prevent them from resorting to vigilante measures due to the impact of the situation at the station.
Municipal Environmental Health Officer reacts to the incident.
The Municipal Environmental Health Officer (MEHO), Mr. Lawrence Senya, acknowledged the completion of new toilet facilities in the market but revealed that the partially closed dilapidated toilet was still in operation.
He mentioned that the Assembly is in the process of implementing essential measures to make the newly constructed toilet facility accessible to the public, and once it is operational, the groups currently occupying the old facility will undoubtedly leave.
He indicated that their plans are at a 90% completion stage, and he remains optimistic that the facilities will be ready for opening before March of this year.
Mr. Senyao downplayed the argument of an explosion, stating their studies showed no such risk. However, he acknowledged the potential for overflow and pollution in the environment.
He discouraged the idea of dislodging the pit, considering it a waste of money before the new facilities opened. He mentioned ongoing developmental ideas for the old place.
He urged the public, especially those at the station, to guide visitors to accessible toilet facilities in the main market building for safety until the new facility opened.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests decommissioning of the facility to protect lives and properties.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional director, Mr. Hope Smith, advocated for decommissioning the facility to protect lives and properties.
He emphasized the danger of methane gas present in the area, which, when exposed to fire, could lead to explosions.
Mr. Smith recommended filling the area with laterite or sand to prevent any potential hazards and urged against abandoning the site due to possible remaining waste.
“Exposure of methane gas to fire can lead to an explosion, resulting in potential harm to lives and property. Therefore, the area should be decommissioned and filled with laterite or sand to mitigate these risks. We cannot simply assume there won’t be an explosion and remain passive.”.
“Given the presence of methane gas, uncertainties exist, and we cannot confidently assert that there won’t be an explosion. I disagree; even if an explosion is unlikely, there is still a risk of the area caving in. Hence, decommissioning is necessary to safeguard lives.” EPA boss explained.