Double agony! Unorthodox sea defence at Funko now health hazard

There is a saying that God helps those who help themselves, but the people of Funko in the Ahanta West district of the Western Region who are living by this principle say their already bad situation is worsening.

Residents of the coastal community have for years been struggling to stop tidal waves from eroding their buildings using unorthodox means; a collection of heaps of solid waste to block tidal waves.According to them, lack of sea defence compelled them to dump all kinds of solid waste, particularly plastic materials, along the coast to keep tidal waves at bay in order to safeguard their lands and buildings.

While that has helped them over the years, the people have realised the unorthodox ‘waste sea defence wall’ now pose danger to their lives.

The residents say several appeals for a sea defence wall are yet to receive any positive response. “Several reports and appeals have been made to the authorities about our sea defense wall but nothing has been done, so had it not been the refuse, tidal waves would have destroyed all the buildings here,” aide to the Funko chief fisherman, Papa Job told TV3.

Papa Job

Having realised the health implications of the use of waste as sea defence wall, he said the people now “need proper sea defence to salvage this situation”.

Maame Nyame Na Ose who operates a kitchen close to the sea where she smokes fish said though she is aware of the health hazards of operating close to the refuse, she has no option available to her.

“We are aware keeping refuse close to the kitchen and fish smoking is very dangerous to our health, but for now this is the only solution to block the tidal waves,” she said.

Open defecation

But the use of refuse dump as sea defence wall is not the only problem facing the people Funko; open defecation is the order of the day and the beach is the worst affected.

The community is grappling with inadequate toilet facilities.Funko is supposed to have two toilet facilities but the land on which one is located is under litigation making it unavailable.  Only one toilet is serving the over 500 people in the community.

An investor has decided to put up one more toilet and operate it commercially.“We don’t have a place to dump refuse and there is only one functioning toilet facility. That is why there is open defecation”, another resident, Maame Mary lamented.

The residents say the refuse dump and open defecation have made the community the host of filth and made them very susceptible to cholera and typhoid.

Papa Job is thus “appealing for more toilets because the only functioning toilet facility is far from here [the community]. Now the only available place of convenience is the beach”.

By Ebenezer Abakah||Ghana

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