The bio-digester construction and installation manual to aid the proper setup of the modernized but simplified household toilet facility has been launched by the Ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah.
The launched was done on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, during the 52nd Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhiE).
The manual is expected to be useful to Engineers, Technicians, Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Institutions in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Sector.
According to the sector minister, the initiative is the first step to ensure that “the manual does not remain on the shelves but is made visible, available, and accessible to all stakeholders, particularly the artisans and entrepreneurs who are into construction and installation of bio-digesters.”
She added “The United Nations (UN), since 2013, has declared access to basic sanitation as a Human Right. Consequently, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources together with, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Partners, are committed to ensuring that this right accrues to all Ghanaians irrespective of their social or economic status.
“According to the published 2021 population and housing census data released in February 2022 by the Ghana Statistical Service, 59.3% of households have toilet, 17.7% do not have access to toilet facility and 23% of households still use public toilets. Recognizing the fact that toilets are underfunded, poorly managed or neglected in many parts of the world, with devastating consequences for health, economics and the environment, particularly in the poorest and most marginalized communities, the Ministry through the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP) has within the project period provided access to improved toilet facilities to serve over 275,968 people in lowincome communities representing over 35,000 households in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA). This has contributed to the reduction in open defecation in the Region.
“As a result of the success of the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project, an additional funding totalling Seventy-Four Million United States Dollars (US$ 74 Million) has been secured to replicate the achievement of the GAMA Project in the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area
through the provision of 30,000 household toilets and to expand the results of the project in Accra by additional 12,000 household toilets.
It is therefore gratifying to note that, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders in the WASH Sector have contributed significantly towards increasing access to over 124,952 Household Toilets constructed across the country.
“It is also significant to note that, the use of the bio-digester toilet technology has been given a serious boost across Ghana by the above-mentioned Government-led initiatives through the Ministry of Sanitation and Resources. About 98% of toilets provided under these projects are biodigesters.
“Indeed, the just released 2021 population and housing census data has also revealed that 130,251 households use biodigester toilet facilities across the country with 57% of them in Greater Accra, 14.4% in Central Region, 7.1% in Eastern Region, 6.5% in Ashanti and 14.5% in the other regions. This is against the fact that the technology was barely known in Ghana as of 2010. The surge in the use and acceptance of the bio-digester toilet technology across the country is largely because it is cheaper and easier to install, it has minimal maintenance cost, it requires minimal space for construction, it is environmentally friendly and it saves water. It has therefore
become the technology of choice for most people especially in low-income areas with space constraints.
“Permit me to take this opportunity to acknowledge the pioneering role played by Ing. Kweku Anno of Biofilcom Ghana limited in the design and development of the bio-digester toilet option we have today. A number of variants of the biodigester toilet has, however, increased over the years with different service providers constructing different designs and configurations of the technology.
“The proliferation of the technology has immediately created the urgent need for its standardization to ensure that the environment is protected against the discharge of untreated faecal matter. The Ministry, through the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project initiated the
process to document the entire process of constructing and installing a biodigester in a very simple language with illustrations.
The Manual, I have been reliably informed, was developed with inputs from practitioners and seasoned academics, to provide detailed and useful information on the design, siting, installation, and maintenance of the biodigester. The Manual is therefore expected to be useful
to Engineers, Technicians, Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Institutions in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector.
“This launch is the first step by the Ministry to ensure that the Manual does not remain on the shelves but is made visible, available, and accessible to all stakeholders, particularly the artisans and entrepreneurs who are into construction and installation of bio-digesters.
The Ministry will embark on roadshow of the Manual in Technical and Civil Engineering Schools in the southern, middle, and northern belts of the Country.
“The Ministry will also organize a learning session on this manual to begin the dissemination process on National Level Learning Alliances Platform (NLLAP) tomorrow for all interested stakeholders implementing sanitation projects across the country.
“A digital link will also be advertised in major national newspapers and online platforms for interested users to freely download their personal copies. A few months from now, the Ministry will begin the process of accrediting artisans and institutions who are into the construction and installation of these biodigesters to ensure that the highest environmental standards are maintained. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am also very happy to inform you that the Ministry has initiated procurement processes to set up treatment plants for dealing with the sludge from the biodigesters when they are emptied. Two of such plants are expected to be constructed in Accra and Kumasi within the next two years. This step is aimed at completing the sanitation value chain from generation through transportation to treatment.
“In conclusion, I wish to emphasize that sanitation is a shared responsibility to which we all need to find lasting solutions. I want to express my appreciation to the Ghana Institution of Engineering for the opportunity to launch this Manual on this strategic platform. I will encourage every artisan across the country to have copy of this manual. It will go a very long way to improve sanitation in our low income communities across the country. I wish to thank you all for making time to witness this launch.”
he President of GhiE, Ing. Rev. Prof. Charles Adams assured that members will do all they can to help the Ministry succeed.
“We are behind this and we will ensure that this thing will help to make sure that this works. But help us to implement the law so that it works better.
“What you have done is a good one and we throw our weight behind it. There are many more that we encourage our members to bring them out so that you in government will help us build a better Ghana,” Ing. Rev. Prof. Charles Adams shared.
The bio-digester toilet technology is one of the fastest-growing toilet options in urban Ghana. The use of bio-digesters has been given a boost by the World Bank-funded GAMA Sanitation and Water Project (2014-2020) which seeks to provide improved sanitation to low-income urban areas.
Currently, bio-digesters are the predominant toilet technologies in the low-income communities within GAMA with about 98 % of all constructed household toilets under the project being bio-digesters.
The number of variants of the bio-digester has increased over the years with different service providers providing different designs and configurations of the technology.
This has necessitated the need for standardization through a construction manual.