Fix the sanitation situation in Accra, Ghana

When Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assumed leadership of the Republic of Ghana in 2017, among his early promises and goals was to make Accra, the national capital, the cleanest in Africa. The President was right, because the filth that had littered and engulfed the gateway city to Africa was nothing to write home about. The greatest challenge to bring the president’s vision of Accra to fruition is more attitudinal of the people than economic investment of government and other stakeholders.   

Environmental eyesore in Accra and other big cities in Ghana has increased exponentially, with increased migration and relocation from rural areas. Accra Metropolitan Area is overcrowded with residential areas choked with filth because the municipality has failed time and again to meet the challenges that accompany such movements. It is not uncommon to find auto mechanics setting up business in places earmarked for real estate or other businesses. So too do lotto operators, and other vendors, including agents for telcos set up shops and do brisk business on roadway medians (that are as big as the road), but dangerous for those who patronize such businesses. 

Accra is still filthy; the markets are filthy; parking lots for shoppers have been overtaken by either filth or sellers who have forcibly taken up the spaces while shoppers have to hazard the potential damage to their vehicles to find parking spaces. Also, common and often overlooked is open defecation, open urination and careless disposal of plastic containers after drinking or eating from them. Notwithstanding warnings and announcements condemning such behaviors in the media and elsewhere they still persist. They have become systemic and habitual to so many citizens in the country. Many found guilty of such behaviors become offended and cop an attitude sometimes violent.

It is such shameful citizen negligence and lack of concern that usually result in the various disasters that occur seasonally. For uncountable times people have been warned against building on waterways and wetlands but they hardly listen knowing the potential dangers that await them and the community around them. It is not uncommon to see waterways choked with domestic filth and human waste in the rainy season. What happened in June 2015 when innocent citizens perished against the wrath of water and fire must not happen again.

Enter the big man, Henry Quartey, who, when appointed the Greater Accra Regional Minister, among other things promised to realize the vision of the President to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. The towering honorable minister is slowly, but surely living up to his promises. He has cleared and cleaned the hitherto, hijacked roadway at Madina Zongo Junction by market women and street hawkers by erecting a fence on the peripheral and perimeters of the thorough road. To ensure compliance and any second thought of returning to reclaim the area, and arbitrarily jay walking by pedestrians, police presence is conspicuous during normal work days and hours. It is gratifying to note that pedestrians who, once upon a time, would dash to dangerously cross the road at any convenient place, are now forced to patronize the overhead footbridge that was seldomly utilized. It is unfortunate that violent methods are sometimes adopted to get people to use the foot bridges. Those same people were among those who a couple of years ago demonstrated against the government for not finishing the footbridges on the section of the Accra-Aburi Road after a speeding vehicle hit a student of West African Senior High School who was crossing the road under one of the bridges.

Elsewhere in the Central Business District of Accra, Mr. Quartey has taken on and ejected pavement hawkers who had illegally acquired spots to do business. He’s also given Onion Sellers at Agbobloshie market up to July 1st to relocate to a designated place. The sprawling Abossey Okai Auto parts dealers fall into the fray. We hope no politics is injected in the minister’s selfless action to rid our capital city of filth.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation has also embarked on a program to provide toilet facilities for houses in the Greater Accra Region. In her last media encounter the sector minister said that Accra now can boast of 33 percent of such houses that have been provided with such facilities.

Street begging has now become a menace to motorists in the city. Beggars, mostly minors as young as three years are egged on by their parents sitting under the protective shade of trees around. The older and bigger ones have adopted methods detrimental to themselves and to motorists. They would poke their heads into moving vehicles to grab anything they can find or scratch the vehicle with a sharp object in their frustration.

Amandla is impressed with the political will inherent in Minister Quartey’s work to ensure that the nation’s capital is cleaned up. We call on the nation’s media to join in the campaign to make Accra city clean to match its security credentials. We join the minister in his work to bring sanity to bear in the fight to rid Accra of garbage. 

Let’s fix Accra.

Posted by on Jun 29 2021. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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