Hello, my lovely readers, I am very sorry for the long break in writing to you. It of no doings of mine but circumstances have made it so. I am with Lattitude global volunteering and I am volunteering in Cape Coast for 10 weeks! My work makes me very busy that I get less time for myself :(. Today I am writing about the recent flooding in my country, Ghana which has claimed 100+ lives and has destroyed properties worth millions of cedis.
Whenever it rains in the capital of Ghana, Accra, I see millions of dollars on the streets which I believe many people do see it but they don’t pay attention to these monies. I am made to believe that it not only Ghana but many parts of Africa. The money I am talking about is the waste I see on the streets; the rubber bags to the cans of your drinks to the peels of your orange. Many people don’t want to go out when it rains because of the dirt and the scene the rain creates but we shouldn’t forget that, what we see is what we create. The world revolves, so what we do will come back to us. Today I am very happy to be talking about WASTE because we are wasting waste in a world where waste cannot be wasted. But it very sad I find myself in a country where we pay less attention to waste until it comes back to haunt us but we fail to see that it waste that’s haunting us. Waste wastes our time, resources, health and energy. We are in the time of the year where rains will flood the capital as if it’s an island experiencing a Tsunami.
The yearly flooding of the capital is as a result of poor sanitation practices and the improper disposal of waste. Also with no major effort to help curb the situation, I am made to believe that some people get some income from the situation. This national ‘festival’ is never celebrated alone but it comes with the twin called cholera. Isn’t it shameful for a country that observes national sanitation day (1st Saturday of every month)? Isn’t this waste of time and money to conduct this exercise when after the exercise there is no place to dispose of this rubbish? For me is a disgrace for us to have this national sanitation day because we have wasted more time on things that could’ve been done long ago. In recent times the government through the local government has out with the policy of distributing free dustbin. This is a very nice idea but I don’t support it in this era where the populace finds it difficult to dispose of rubbish correctly. This programme has been introduced before but what happened? The dustbins sat in front of our houses for days before they were picked, sometimes they weren’t taken at all. I spend almost ₵20.00 – ₵30.00 a month depending on the several times the rubbish collectors come for the rubbish. (These people are not employed by the government so I wonder where they dump the rubbish.) The problem is the waste that we create is the cause of annual flooding of the capital and it costing the government much but since we don’t quote huge amount spent on this PREVENTABLE waste we see it as no problem.
I have not been a person who wouldn’t find answers to his problems and I believe every problem has it solutions. I may not have degree in waste management but I think my solutions below can help solve some of the problems.
1. There must be education on the effective ways of disposing waste: The people of the country should be made to understand that the waste we create may waste us someday if we don’t pay attention. They must know how to separate organic waste from recyclable materials. Metal waste too should be separated. The use of rubber bags should be replaced by paper bags. Everywhere you pass in this country you will see these polythene bags all over. These get choked in the gutters which makes it difficult for the water to pass so when this happens, it diverts it course and enters into the house which later results in death and the loss of properties. When there is enough education than any other thing can follow without facing any problems or the problems that will come will be minimal.
2. There should be a NO waste policy: After giving the public much needed education then we introduce the ‘No waste goes waste’ policy. This policy will make sure that waste that can be recycled are done. This will enable us to separate the waste which can give income to others. When organic waste are given to farmers the government will spend less importing fertilizers. We should burn waste that needs to be burnt at night by trained people to avoid air pollution. Agoboloshie, a suburb in Accra is the world most toxic place on earth and that not funny; materials certified as very dangerous comes through our ports and are disseminate into our homes yet that isn’t a problem?, this couldn’t have happened if we took good care of our metal waste. So on this issue, the government must come out with a policy to train people who deal in this place a ban on burning these toxic in public and during the day. One of the waste I feel very sad when it wasted is human excreta. It very hurting when we live in a world where global warming is an issue yet we have people cutting down trees to burn and use as charcoal while they defecate in the open. When the government pay attention to these problems and address it promptly, it will save us a lot. If these communities are provided with a public toilet which has a biogas plant everyone will feel oblige to use this toilet so his/her waste can produce energy or gas for them and our trees will be saved. If there are many of these biogas plants around, the human waste disposed in our seas will stop and we will have nice beaches. Also dustbins must be in the cities at vantage place and there should be some indication that will help to separate waste for easy sorting and disposal. Another major problem faced us as a country is a water; the access to potable water is a headache to many but we live here to be drowned by each rainfall. I recommend for no waste to go waste, a resident of flood-prone areas should have a gutter on their roofs so the rain that could flood the area is channeled to one reservoir and it treated and given back to the community so the nation saves for other equally important projects.
- There should be the re-introduction of sanitation court and sanitation police. During the era of my parents, there were these police and the court which they called, town council. They feared to be summoned by these people to the court to pay huge fines for not sweeping their compound or leaving water overnight. When this comes into existence again in its full course without fear or favor and without any corrupt mindset, the country will be less of dirt. I will recommend that senior high school graduate should be used for this operation since after the completion of high school they wait for almost a year for their result and people graduate every year from the high school so this will serve as an opportunity for them to serve their country. During the days of these sanitary inspectors, everything was in other so the re-introduction of them and the court will help us go a long way. I will recommend that juveniles shouldn’t spend weeks or month behind bars but rather they should do very useful work for the nation; they should be made to plant trees, weed bushy areas in their capital, water grasses and keep open spaces clean. Also, people found with other ‘minimal’ crime charges should be fined to pay for a green Ghana project where their monies will be used to educate the applicants of the project. The time we see a green Ghana again!
Finally, when we make good use of the sun God has gifted us, the nation won’t be in darkness. The government must stop seeking funds annually for sanitation but should invest in sanitation. It a shame to be getting money from the EU, IMF, World Bank, UN, USAID, etc., To fight the same problem every year. We must be a country ready to move forward from poverty which dirtiness is one major cause of poverty. Have we asked ourselves why the rich are depicted unsoiled and the poor filthy?
God bless Ghana, Long Live Africa.
Reuben Griffiths Bekoe.