A visit to any city in Ghana today, will reveal heaps of uncontrolled garbage, general littering in the environment, including streams and drainage channels. The problem of solid waste management is a direct result of challenges including the rapid growing urban population, few waste treatment options in Ghana, irregular collection of solid waste, negative habits and apathy of the general public towards the environment.
The rate at which solid waste is rearing up on our streets and drainage is menacing that it is difficult to tell when “Accra is going to be the cleanest city in Africa” as declared by the Akufo Addo led-administration since it assumed power after the 2016 general elections would be achieved.
Speaking at a recent sanitation launch, Sanitation Education Everywhere by the Walcourt Green, a Non-Governmental Organization which aims at promoting sanitation, at the International Press Center, Hon. Patrick Buamah, the Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources voiced out that, “Most recent data indicates that only 15percent of Ghanaians have access to improved sanitation whilst about 19percent defecate in the open”, a situation which is not encouraging.
For some decades now, at Labadi in the LA Dadekotopon Constituency, there has not been a recycling place at vantage points where the residents dump their solid wastes. Until the waste collectors who come house to house with sacks and sometimes carts to collect the waste, these refuses would be heaped in plastic bags and containers at various corners in the households leaving flies and other insects to feed on.When this persist, diseasesrelated to poor sanitation such as malaria, diarrhea, intestinal worms and cholera are reported to the local hospital.
Solid wastes are seen in every nooks and cranny of this part of the city. A visit to the Labadi beach is an eyesore as the first to welcome you at the shore are cluster of solid wastes. Waste which were not generated by nature but by the doing of the residents of the town. As a result of dumping of solid wastes in the drains and intentionally littering around, the wastes found their way in the sea, where all drains are linked to it. Thus, making the place very de-energizing to patronize.
Revealing to me, the residents admitted that it has to do with attitudinal change. “We need to change our attitudes towards sanitation in Labadi and its environs. Some people in the community open defecate in the drains and the sea in the evenings. Dumping of refuse and other solid waste materials in the drains during raining periods must be stopped.”
Some residents also opined that, “Since there is no provision of dustbin by the District Assembly and a place where we can go and dump solid wastes, residents have no choice but to throw them in the sea.”
However, Mr. John Alexis Pwamang, Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency hasexpressed that, “Majority of the populace believes that waste management is a sole responsibility of the government. It is however, stated in Article 41(k) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana that, it is the duty of every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment.”
Hon. Patrick Buamah, Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources gave an assurance that, “In as much as we feel so bad about our poor sanitation situation, we hope in the new commitments that we have made in the Global Development Agenda- the Sustainable Development Goal 6 of ensuring access to improved sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030”.
Journalism Student, Level 300
Ghana Institute of Journalism.