The fight against poor sanitation at the beaches in the Greater Accra Region is still a war Ghanaians are struggling to win over the years. The current state of placeslike Dansoman are a classic example of why this victory is beginning to be a thing that will elude as forever.
Dansoman is a sub-urban town in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. It is noted for its relaxing beaches and refreshing breeze.However, their beach resort which was once a place for memorable family reunions, pleasure, and relaxation has now turned into a dumping site forwaste (rubbish and human excreta).
The overcrowded slum “Glefe” which is a part of Dansoman has been noted as one of the major contributors to the poor state of the beach. The inhabitants ease themselves into the sea and pour their rubbish on the shores. They claim the air at the beach is cool and the public toilets are far from their homes. Most of them also dump their rubbish into the sea or along the shores after cleaning their homes and shops. They believe it is a convenient way of disposing their rubbish. The major reason for these acts is lack of properly planned settlements which prevents refuse collecting vehicles from accessing homes.
In an interview with a resident of Dansoman beach, Madam Esther, expressed her discontent about the situation. “The beach is just behind my house and truly speaking, the place smells a lot. You don’t see the people who throw the rubbish there but it keeps mounting up every day”, she said. Meanwhile, a fisherman at the beach admitted they also engagein open defecation sometimes becauseof the distance from the beach to their homes or public toilets.Though they are involved in the poor sanitation of the place, they also complain that they hardly get to catch fishes because all the fishes have gone beyond the reef. “At times, we catch rubbish instead of fishes, and it really bothers us since we have to go deeper into the sea, and that is also very dangerous” Nii Amu, a fisherman spoke to us in an interview.
Many commercial contractors or groups of individuals fetch the sand along the beach to either sell them or use them to fill their homes since it’s a waterlogged area. Since there is no one protecting the place, these people keep weaning away the sand without being punished, and this has exposed the inhabitants to danger. The people have indiscriminately built their houses so close to the sea, that when it rains heavily or there is high tide, the water rushes into their homes causing flood and destroying properties. There is destabilization of the stream bed and banks because of the gradual fetching of the sand, causing erosion to occur.
The filth at the beach is an eyesore, this has rendered it unattractive to visitors. The filthy scene according to most visitors put them off, and thus may not visit the place again. The heap of rubbish are fast consuming the once beautiful environment that used to be a place of relaxation and pleasure for those who spend their holidays at the beach.
In many countries, beaches play significant roles in the tourismindustry, as it can be a major foreign exchange earner. Unfortunately, the Dansoman beach, like most beaches in Accra, have lost its value as a center of pleasure and a great source of revenue since it has nothing to offer in terms of tourism promotion, than filth and criminal activities.
Talking about criminal activities, the Dansoman beach has become a home and hiding place for wee smokers and criminals, and the impact has already started manifesting on the children in the vicinity. People who try to visit the place during occasions or on normal days, get robbed off their valuables, making it dangerous to visit the place alone, especially when you want to be left alone to your thoughts, or reflect on yourself without any distractions. The place is now heavily infiltrated by gang boys and wee smokers.
The combined effects of the stench from the rubbish dump and the smell of wee deprives visitors from enjoying the fresh sea breeze and appreciate nature. This is bad for our health, and also tarnishes the image of our beloved country.
To show the world that our beaches are worth visiting, we need to educate the people about maintaining a clean environment around the beach in order to keep it neat and serene, to attract outsiders. Government should as a matter of urgency dispatch people who will work at our beaches to keep it clean at all times. However, we should know that the government of Ghana, can’t win the war against filth alone, if the citizens are not willing to discipline themselves to know where and how to dispose waste properly, then all efforts towards fighting filth will be a complete fiasco.
In recent times, most people resort to the beaches as a place of relaxation rather than tourist sites like the zoo, the museum, waterfalls and many others.However, pollution at the beaches has been an obstacle to most Ghanaians. We will have to intensify the fight against open defecation and improper disposal of waste into the sea and on the beaches. Otherwise, risks of losing tourists may lead to the loss of millions of money to the tourism industry. This is because, tourists both locally and internationally, are gradually being pushed away by the appalling state of our beaches. This does not really project a good image of our country.
In previous times, Dansoman was the single largest planned urban settlement of its kind in the ECOWAS sub-region. The town is known for being one of the largest estates in West- Africa.
Name of writer:
A level 300 student of GIJ.