Sanitation and its Impact on the Bacteriological Quality of Water: A Study in Three Communities in Ghana
Water constitutes about 70% of the earth’s total mass and all life is dependent on water. Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease worldwide and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on health both in households and across communities. Water and sanitation are closely related and cannot be isolated. If uncontaminated water is available, reliable and convenient to collect, more water is consumed, both for hygienic purposes and for drinking which can improve health. In this study, the effect of sanitation on the bacteriological quality of water was evaluated. The study also assessed the sanitation facilities available in the three communities, the water facilities used and the bacterial contamination of household water. A cluster survey system was employed in three communities namely Tetegu, Mayera and Ashongman village in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Thirty households were clustered within each community. Within each household in each community, domestic water stored was analyzed for bacterial contamination using UriSelect 4 medium. This was used because it allows the isolation and counting of all organisms using a standard bacteriological loop plating method. Standardized questionnaires were administered in each household to ascertain the type of water and sanitation infrastructure. Seventy-seven percent and 87% of respondents relied on public standpipes in the Ashongman and Tetegu communities, respectively. Eightythree percent of respondents in Mayera relied on the Nsaki river. Eighty percent of respondents used the KVIP at Mayera, 97% of respondents at Tetegu resorted to open defecation, and 57% of respondents also used the pit latrine at Ashongman community. A total of ten bacterial species namely: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus faecalis, Proteus mirabilis, Streptococcus agalactiae. Enterobacter cloacae, Staphylococcus saprophytic, Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus were identified in domestic water stored. This study therefore recommends that policy makers must ensure the provision of basic infrastructure such as toilet facilities to reduce the likely contamination of water sources from poor sanitation facilities.
Key words: Sanitation, Coliform, Households, Water Quality
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