It is no more news that our beloved nation Ghana has been adjudged one of the most filthy nations in the whole of Africa. It is mostly in the densely populated areas in the country that poses the problem of pollution that we face presently. Singapore, one of the cleanest nations in the world is known to have initiated a policy that brought about a turn-about in the country’s sanitation. The Keep Singapore Clean Campaign in 1968 was dubbed, “Do the right thing, let’s bin it”, as their national anti- littering initiative. Ghana can also rise to the problem at hand with certain enforced initiatives and campaigns (some of which are so far being sensitized) in order to curb the situation.
In the days of Salifu Amankwah, Accra was clean but today, the city cannot boast of any policies to keep the city clean. If there are any then its truely not effective. The former Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, the late Aliu Mahama, did his best to campaign against indiscipline in the country but all fell on dead ears. The solutions to this appalling situation for which we have been noticed world wide are simple and minimal than we may think of. The most important of all the solutions are by providing waste bins and cans, enforcing laws to be adhered to, and educating the people on why they should avoid littering. These solutions are further explained below.
Providing waste bins at vantage points is a very vital check on littering. The average percentage of Ghanians feel the urge to throw their rubbish into waste bins. It is rather discouraging to find out that there are not provisions for them to do so. The level of education of most people in Ghana today is high (except for the remaining percentage of illiterates). A typical scenario can be assessed through a drive around some suburbs of Accra, a densely populated area. From Kaneshie through to Circle into Labone will show the absence of waste bins for rubbish disposal. This is very disheartening, especially for a country which aims at attracting more investors into its economy.
What this absence attracts is the huge pollution that we see, and the subsequent floods that resurfaces after every downpour. Government in association with some stakeholders such as Zoomlion can come together to fix waste bins at vantage points, especially in market places, towns and cities where a lot of people mostly converge for various purposes. These litter bins can be designed in a way that, it will be fixed and static in the position that it is placed.
This means that noone can easily carry them away with the intention of keeping them for their own interests. Waste vans and cans will also be needed to convey and store the rubbish which have been kept in the bins. This whole new project could create job opportunities for the youth, since the waste carriers will also have their fair share of employment. Street sweepers who complain of low wage salaries will be cleared from the streets little by little as the rubbish will be drastically reduced through this initiative. This shall be the first step towards a cleaner Ghana.
Again, the law making bodies should rise up to the cause and identify the current filthy situation as a serious rather than normal routine. There should be strict and enforced laws put in place to control the situation. It is of no news that this problem is the main root of all the many diseases that we face in the country. Cholera, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, lung cancer, just to mention but a few, are some diseases that we attract as a result of our negligence to do the right thing.
What the legislature and judiciary must do is to make and interpret laws to the people for its strict observance. For instance, people can be made to pay fines for littering the environment otherwise, they can be made to face serious charges for such an offense. This will serve as a deterrent to other recalcitrant citizens. The nation will be on the headway to becoming assessed as one of the cleanest with this being instituted. Also it shall minimize, if not eradicate, the many diseases that we face (with much emphasis on children who are exposed to the dirt and filth).
Finally, the people need more sensitization on the need to keep a cleaner community. The target for this education should be the children between three to fourteen years, and the illiterates made up of traders and low income earners. This education should be run in schools and public places by the unemployed young graduates. This venture will presumably provide the needed education to children of school going ages and the non-schooled. It will also create employment for the people who shall convey the message to the aforementioned groups.
Education which plays a vital role in every nation building, be it formal or non-formal, can be the long lost tool for this worrying social canker. In the end, the targeted groups will be sensitized on the need to keep their communities clean, dispose off rubbish at the appropriate places, and report any case of violation of the laws underlying littering to the authorities. The basis of all the problems we are currently facing boils down to the fact that there is little or no education on the subject matter. Fact is, by the time these targeted children grow up, they will be very much accustomed to doing things the right way. When this happens, there is a greater chance of cleanliness in the now filthy nation that we see ourselves in.
When it comes to education, religious leaders also play a major role in carrying out information to the people. All heads of religious denominations can come together to plan how they can be of help to the situation at hand. People generally look up to these people as opinion leaders and their participation will be much of help. They can talk to their members about the need to obey and adhere to cleanliness and the use of the appropriate measures in place (such as waste bins). This could be one of the easiest ways that the message can be put across to the people, especially the targeted groups.
It is with deep concern that this alarming issue has been critically observed with its possible solutions. The greater appeal goes to government and other distinguished stakeholders to help bring this vision into reality. As patriotic citizens, we could also put to play our little efforts to help reduce the many associated problems that come with littering and dumping of refuse. The floods alone are claiming many lives and properties due to our refusal to observe simple rules and practices. Great felicitations and applause goes out to the Okyehene and his “Cleaner Ghana Campaign”. Ghana can see a change, its all in our hands.