Once adorned with lilies, the Brekese river located in the Nungua township in the Greater Accra region has become an eyesore. As a tribute of the Odaw river, the Brekese divides the Nungua township into two halves. This river which has now become a mere gutter with loads of refuse once served as a source of water for domestic usage some years ago whiles giving the fisherfolk of the community a means of income.
A walk close to this river now will leave you with an unpleasant experience. From a once beautiful river to a refuse-laden gutter which has become a threat to the inhabitants of the community. Now serving as home to many unhealthy practices, the indigenes of this community have over the years contributed immensely to the degradation of this river.
With the lack of a place of convenience in most homes in this community, this river has become the nearest grounds in providing the necessary solace to people who desire to use a place of convenience; a practice that cuts across both the young and old in the community. Households that are able to afford toilets in their homes have made this gutter their destination point as they channel by pipes their sewage into the gutter.
It seems as if the fight for a clean environment is being lost as people keep dumping their refuse into this ‘gutter’. All refuse collected by individuals and some sanitation companies are dumped here.
The high spate of block factories been built in the community has led to these factories winning sand from the river as a main input for their production. This is an activity that has become rampant hence, accelerating the erosion rate of the banks of this river.
The above activities have summed up to contribute to the various negative effects on the people living around.
With the gutters choked with a large amount of plastic waste, the free flow of the water in this river-turned gutter has been hindered hence its stagnation. Subsequently, the breed of mosquitoes is a sure event leading to high cases of malaria in the area. Flooding of homes when it rains has also been a popular thing as a result of these event.
The deposits of sewage in the gutter has also led to the community topping the cholera chart in cases of outbreaks. Dear lives are lost due to these problems.
As part of ensuring the easier movement of people from one side of this river to the other side, footbridges were constructed. These bridges that came with no lights have become a hub for thieves who continuously harass people using the facility at night.
The bad attitude of sand winning in this river has led to serious erosions which has resulted in the breakdown of many of the bridges constructed, leaving many people stranded at either banks of the river.
The call for a change in attitudes towards improving this unfortunate situation has gotten louder now. The authorities have in the past failed with their approaches towards getting this result. With some intermittent clean-ups, it looks so clear that the problem goes beyond just that.
This is an all-hands-on-deck affair and as the media, this is a step in the right direction. Thus, to inform the public of their actions which demands a drastic change and the need for those in high decision making places to help in curbing these problems.
BY: Stella Opokuwaa Asare (Diploma 1)