Wednesday, 25 January 2017
The Insanitary Situation In Ghana By George Ankrah
Year in, year out, Ghana faces cholera outbreak which claims innocent lives. According to reliable statistics, in 2014 a severe cholera attack killed 250 people and infected as many as 25,000 people between January and December. Figures from the Ghana Health Service indicate that the situation was severe in the Capital city of Accra which recorded more than 18,000 cases and 114 deaths. The causes of cholera and these preventable deaths can be attributed to poor sanitation or insanitary condition in our communities. This year, it is predicted that there would be early but heavy rains. Rain is a blessing particularly to our farmers. But again the same rain may be a curse to those of us living in low lying areas, with choked gutters.
The situation is worsened with the reckless waste disposal practices among others. Governments over the years rolled out various sanitation policies starting from the first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah up to the immediate past President John Mahama’s regime who also instituted the monthly National Sanitation Day. These were all efforts to keep the surroundings clean to ensure healthy environment for socio-economic activities. It is an undeniable fact that sanitation is a global issue and in terms of wastes management, it is a serious business. Elsewhere, wastes are separated to make it easier for those who manage the waste to do it efficiently. Zoomlion, the household name in waste management in Ghana among several others are not doing badly.
What then is the waste management in Ghana our problem? Bad attitude, deliberate intent to throw rubbish anywhere, or is it also the failure or breakdown of local governance system where by laws are not enforced? Why is it difficult for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to enforce the bye laws on waste disposal? How about ensuring that landlords construct toilets in their homes before renting them out to tenants? The least said about open defecation in across the country, the better.
The story is not different with refuse dump. From the Major Adenta road to Accra, and at the markets throughout the city, you find refuse dumped everywhere by traders. Just take a look at the Legon Tax Revenue Office in today's Ghana, you see children defecating openly on a mounting refuse. Soon after the declaration of the 7th December General Election, traders have taken over the over-pass at the Spanner junction close to the Accra Mall and have turned the floor into a refuse dump.
Thank God President Akufo-Addo's government has designated a Minister to take charge of sanitation in the country. Whatever measures to be rolled out to improve sanitation in the country should be embraced by all citizens. Sanitation is closely related to health. Let us hope and pray that the majority of Ghanaians would support the regime to address this bad sanitation habit. Sanitation is also a religious issue that is why we have the adage that cleanliness is next to Godliness. We throw the challenge to the country's religious leaders to use the pulpits and mosques to campaign for change in attitude towards waste disposal.
This way we can prevent diseases such as cholera and unnecessary deaths.
BY GEORGE ANKRAH A JOURNALIST.