Gone are the days when you’ll hear a shout from the neighborhood, “Papa tankas reba oo!”’(The sanitation inspector is coming). You would find people run helter skelter to ensure their surroundings and homes were neat and tidy. These days, you are more likely to wonder if there are any town counsels at all as the sanitary state of the city needs serious redress.
Accra is not just the capital of Ghana but also a business capital. Most major industries and businesses in the country start from Accra before setting up branches in other cities around the country.
Despite numerous signs and billboards with the message for people to keep the city clean, people still dump refuse everywhere. The most common items people dispose improperly are; sachet rubber after drinking water, Yoghurt rubbers, polythene bags etc.
Open drains have been more problematic than a solution to our drainage issues. People use the open drains as a form of refuse dump expecting that when the water come they’ll be washed away. These sachet rubbers and polythene bags that are not well disposed off find their ways into the drains. Most people often sweep their surroundings and gather the refuse right on the edge of the open drains.
When it rains, the rubbish gathered on the edges of the open drain is dragged into the drain and is transported to the sewage system. Now due to the high amount of materials and impediments in the sewer when the water drags the rubbish through the pipes they tend to clog it till finally it gets choked. Now when a drain gets choked the water stagnates hence no flow, what happens is that the water now backflows to its origin.
Due to the high number of choked gutters in the Accra, the city has become vulnerable anytime the rains come along. For the past couple of years areas within the city have flooded time and time again. The stagnant water from the drains also becomes breeding habitats for various insects and pests including mosquitoes thus leading to malaria, cholera, typhoid etc.
One mindboggling issue has also been the problem of scavengers and thieves. It’s been found out that when drains are constructed with metal coverings some people go and remove them and sell to scrap dealers. These acts of vandalism have had dire consequences as these coverings that are sometimes there to prevent certain materials from entering the drains now cannot do that job thus rendering the drains partly useless.
With the purpose of helping keep the city clean, drains in the country have now become a hazardous implementation. Various Government and taskforces have failed in their tasks to help keep the city clean. Despite orientations in the benefits of keeping the city clean, it’s all fallen to deaf ears and we as a people have failed ourselves. With mild-mannered talking not doing the work, the need for stringent sanitation laws is now, because as a country we can’t continue living in such manner with no regard for our surroundings.
As the adage goes, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” We’ve done enough praying; it’s time we do some sweeping.
Story by: Christlove Akrasi-Sarpong (Diploma 1 A)