The first Saturday of every month is earmarked National Sanitation Day (NSD) in Ghana. It was first declared on November 1, 2014 by Hon. Julius Debrah, the then Minister of Local Government and rural Development. This was in response to the 2014 cholera outbreak in Ghana. The NSD is a voluntary clean up exercise for all Ghanaian residents in an effort to reduce unsanitary conditions that breed diseases and causes injuries.
The first and second observation of the NSD attracted high profile personalities like President John Dramani Mahama, Minister of State, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene and Stakeholders like Zoomlion, a sanitation management organization, the security service, national service personnel and students.
Essence of National Sanitation Day.
According to The Waste Management Director of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr. Anthony Mensah, the NSD had two main objectives, to keep a clean environment and sensitize people about the importance of cleanliness.
The significance of the National Sanitation Day is to rid the country of filth and also encourage citizens to cultivate a cleaning culture. The Waste Management Director of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr. Anthony Mensah said the NSD had two main objectives, which are the sensitisation and making the environment clean.
“We want the general public to come out, join us to clean. Once we do that, it registers in our minds that there is the need to keep the environment clean. Once we’ve done it over the years, all those who have been participating will develop that culture”.
He was however not happy about the attitude of the people.
“Once we come out to clean, physically you see us dealing with the waste so then momentarily the environment will become clean. Of course, the filth will come back in subsequent days but once we clean, it us significant because we have dealt with a huge quantity of waste on that day”
General Public Response
The NSD which started with a lot of passion and readiness from individuals, chiefs and the government has now become an exercise for a few people. These may be as a result of the slump in media attention and government participation in the exercise.
Though there have been threats of sanctions from the Ministry and Local Government, it seems, is not enough to get citizens involved in the exercise.
Sources: Dwira Kwarteng Gifty L300. Madina Minawaratu L300. Duah Michael L300 Agyei Nana Akua L300.