By Samuel Darko
(Ghana Institute of Journalism, Level 300)
It is such an honour that Ghana has made the name of being one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. However, it is very shameful to see this same country grouped among the filthiest. Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is ranked the ninth most polluted and dirtiest city on the continent. It is very disgraceful to hear such stories told about Ghana my Motherland.
With the alarming rate of how filthy Accra has become, I want to draw the attention of the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, to deliver on his promise of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa. However, I can boldly state that achieving this dream can never be possible if the citizens refuse to change their attitudes toward the environment.
For every society to develop, the attitudes of people living in it play a critical role, and for that matter, Ghana is not exceptional. Every citizen has a role to play in making Accra the cleanest city in Africa, as far as a positive attitude towards cleanliness is concerned.
Most Ghanaians lack the “can do spirit.” They have the mindset which suggests that certain aims and objectives are difficult and impossible to achieve. Statements such as “Making Accra the cleanest City in Africa is a mirage,” baffle me, because in this technological world everything is possible. Seriously, if Ghanaians are to believe and have a positive mindset towards the aim of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa, then we can achieve it. Any achievement starts from the mind, and if the mind is not psyched towards achieving positive results, then they can never be executed.
Ghana is engulfed with so much filth because its citizens are not patriotic enough. A patriot who has the nation at heart will indulge in activities that will promote the good image of the country. Must one be considered a patriot if he or she finds no problem with throwing rubbish into open drains and also littering the streets? Never! It is mandatory of us to prove how patriotic we are by keeping our environs clean. As a matter of fact, Accra is the first point of contact when one touches down at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), and a place where most foreigners would prefer to stay during their visit. Therefore, it is a duty on us to project a good image of this city to them by keeping clean environs.
Moreover, clean environments would not only make Accra beautiful and an exciting place to live in, but will also promote good health and wellbeing. This can only happen if an attitudinal change takes place. A visit to the various markets in Accra, such as Makola, Agbogbloshie, and Kaneshie, just mention but a few, the heaps of rubbish present at their premises illustrates a gloomy picture of the capital city’s current situation. However, don’t be surprised to see traders sitting next to these stinking piles of refuse trading their wares, including food and other consumable products, yet we do not hesitate to buy from them. This is because we do not care about our health. It is time we start caring about living a healthy life. And this isn’t about just keeping good personal hygiene, but rather minding our environs and taking in healthy stuff. We have come too far as a country to still battle with high rates of malaria and cholera.
All the aforementioned attitudinal changes, I believe, will take us a long way to make the capital of Ghana, Accra, the cleanest city in Africa. However, all these attitudes can be adopted when much education is done. The media must take it upon itself to aid in educating the citizens on the necessary things to do in keeping our surroundings clean and hygienic. The educative role of the media must be well executed through the various outlets.
In addition, institutions responsible for sanitation such as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources must effectively perform to ensure our environs are kept clean. Sanctioning of people being caught littering can be a perfect measure to keep everyone disciplined enough.
Our sanitation problem can be stopped when the citizens of Ghana are patriotic enough and develop the love of development for the country. Both our leaders and followers should join hands to keep Ghana clean.