Environmental planning crisis in urban Ghana: Local responses to nature's call

Patrick, B. Cobbinah, Enoch, A. Kosoe, Francis Diawuo Darko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Worldwide, there is increasing acknowledgement of the dangers of improper human waste management, particularly open defecation, on the environment and human wellbeing. With about 85.7% of Ghana's population without access to decent toilet facilities as of 2017, Ghana ranks highly in the world among countries with poor human waste management practices. Focusing on urban Ghana, the purpose of this article is twofold: first, to analyze the social, economic, institutional and cultural factors inhibiting the provision of household toilet facility in urban Ghana; and second, to assess how urban residents are coping with the absence of in-house toilet facilities, and the urban planning implications. Using Wa municipality as a case study, household survey and key informant interviews were conducted. Findings indicate that provision of in-house toilet facilities is influenced by complex interactions of socio-economic (e.g. income and educational levels) and cultural (community belief system in relation to toilet provision) factors as well as distortions in the urban planning regime (e.g. limited monitoring systems, inadequate logistics and personnel). Findings from a regression analysis between residents’ attitudes to provision of toilet facilities and the benefits they receive or derive from the availability and/use of in-house toilet facilities indicated a positive correlation (correlation coefficient 0.750; degrees of freedom 13; p value 0.001), yet residents have resorted to the use of communal toilet facilities, open defecation and ‘perching’ (i.e. sharing with friends’ with in-house toilet facilities). Implications of the findings for environmental planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134898
Number of pages11
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental sanitation
  • In-house
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Toilet facility
  • Urban planning
  • Waste management


Dive into the research topics of 'Environmental planning crisis in urban Ghana: Local responses to nature's call'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this