Fourteen residents of Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) municipality of the Central Region have been sentenced to pay fines totaling Ghc5, 600 by the Elmina District Magistrate’s Court for defecation in the open.

The culprits, made up of men and women aged between 20 and 50 years, were arraigned before the court on Tuesday and Wednesday and were fined GHc400 each; Ghc300 to the court and Ghc100 to the KEEA Assembly.

The Municipal Environmental Health Officer, Mr. Alex Damtey who prosecuted said they were arrested near areas including Bronyibima, Tatarim, a salt mining area and the Elmina Castle beach front by a sanitation taskforce set up by the assembly.

He told the Ghanaian Times in an interview on Wednesday that the taskforce had been set up as part of an ongoing exercise to clamp down on open defecation which has become rampant in the municipality.

He said the municipality recorded 36 cholera cases last year when there was an outbreak in the region, an indication of the poor sanitation practice saying “some of them were arrested near a salt mining site and you can just imagine the health risk of this”.
Mr. Damtey said for the past two years, the assembly had been educating people on the need to have household latrines instead of over-dependence on public latrines which were meant for people in transit.

He said that the assembly was committed to close “the door of open defection“ in the area and would continue to educate,monitor, arrest and prosecute offenders to prevent diseases and instill discipline.