Meeting Some Sustainable Development Goals Concurrently: SDG 6 and SDG 13 in Focus

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

The Goals include a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all

It is the focus of every nation to meet the sustainable development goals. The general strategy has been the use of multi sectorial policies to achieve these goals. Goal 6 talks about clean water and Sanitation as Goal 13 is climate action. Though these two seems to be dichotomous, critically
analyzing them can help achieve them simultaneously in a single project.
In 2015, 4.5 billion people lacked safely managed sanitation services (with adequately disposed or treated excreta) and 2.3 billion lacked even basic sanitation. Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation seeks to address global challenge. Goal 13 is climate actions.

The goal aims to mobilize US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development. It is still possible, with strong political will, increased investment, and using existing technology, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius (20C) above pre-industrial levels, aiming at 1.5°C, but this requires urgent and ambitious collective action.

In Ghana and for that matter Kumasi, around 700,000 people use at least one of Kumasi’s 419 Public Latrine Blocks (PLBs) each day: 40% of the city population. This percentage is even higher among Kumasi’s low-income residents — most of whom are dependent on PLBs as their only form of sanitation — and demand in many districts is so high that users frequently have to queue during peak hours. Despite their prevalence, surveys have shown that the vast majority of Kumasi’s PLBs are kept in a poor condition, posing a threat to public health and the environment.

Public toilets are noted for their unfriendly smell and offensive odor.

Trees are important as they improve human life and fulfill essential needs of mankind like recreation. Trees, through the process of photosynthesis, breakdown organic materials and absorb carbon dioxide. With the help of sunlight and chlorophyll, the trees produce starch which is stored as fruits. Moreover, trees support life by providing habitat to different species of animals such as butterflies, bees and birds. Trees cleanse the climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the environment and releasing oxygen. The trees cool the environment through their leaves by absorbing the heat from the sun. Thus, there occurs cooling in the atmosphere. The trees provide shades to houses and streets among others. Trees absorb carbon and release oxygen. If we can innovatively harness these two properties of trees that is absorbing carbon and releasing oxygen then we can mitigate climate change whiles simultaneously refreshing the air in sanitation areas such as Public Toilets and dump sites.

Workers at sanitation related areas spend between 6 – 8 hours at these areas every day. Though the risks of such long exposure to the polluted air around these areas have not been empirically determined, basic science pre-informs us of the numerous dangers associated with that.

Having established the need to refresh the air in such environment to improve sanitation and the need to create a carbon sink to sequence carbon – a greenhouse gas, it is a novel idea to plant trees in such areas. This is a win – win approach for both humanity and nature.

Otuo-Akyampong Boakye
Eco Warriors Movement


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