By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
As part of activities marking its 70th Birthday, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has launched a two-year campaign against filth in the country. A nationwide education and sensitisation programme, per the GJA’s view, is needed to augment the President’s vision of making “Accra the Cleanest City in Africa.”
According to the GJA, this dream cannot be achieved by the authorities in government alone, but rather, was a shared responsibility that needed the efforts of all individuals, as well as organised bodies to educate the entire populace, especially, those living within the cities.
The details of this two-year programme will, again, help the citizenry change its mindset about the environment.
Speaking at a presser organised by the Association in Accra yesterday, Mr. Kojo Impranim, Director of Programmes of the GJA, said, per the figures made available to him from the Ministry of Sanitation, there was a need to have a second look at how we tackle sanitation holistically.
According to him, the people must properly be educated in areas like the market centers to ensure good hygiene. “We need to go beyond mere reporting and educate the public and punish recalcitrant ones who fail to adhere to sanitation laws,” Mr. Impranim advised.
He opined that there was a discrepancy per the way Ghanaians treat access to water and access to (a clean) sanitation service delivery, and thus, the issue about sanitation has been deserted as an orphan to water.
“As at last year, facts from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources revealed that 15 percent of the total population had access to water, but 18 percent of the poorest population did not have access. This means that 19 percent of the total population continue to practice open defecation,” Mr. Impranim lamented.
He, however, commended the government for its efforts in improving the sanitation problems by implementing sanitation programmes that are designed to tackle 4,500 communities covering 130 districts nationwide, and also increasing the collection of solid waste from 16.6 percent to 53 percent.
He also commended a vibrant recycling industry that has also been introduced by the government to manage over 1 million tonnes of waste, which is valued at GH¢2 billion yearly, to create employment for the youth.
The programme was under the theme, “Media action for improved environmental sanitation, behavioural change, and compliance.”
The Mayor of Accra, Mr. Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, expressed his joy about the commitment being shown by the GJA, and promised that his office will reciprocate the gesture.
He thanked the local, as well as international partners that have combined their forces with the GJA to make sure this sensitisation project is achieved within the next two years.