Nationwide clean-up exercise kicks off -but community participation low
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
The nationwide clean-up exercise to rid the various communities of filth took off on Friday in grand style, with personnel from the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons, Military and NADMO leading the onslaught, while those from the National Sanitation Taskforce and Zoom Alliance offered a helping hand.
However, community participation in the exercise was low, as residents were seen either sitting idle and watching as the exercise went on, or were engaged in brisk business.
Though the exercise has been ongoing for the past month, Friday, October 19, 2012 was declared by the Minister of Local Government & Rural Development, Samuel OfosuAmpofo as a day of major exercise that would simultaneously take off across the country.
Activities undertaken by the men and women in black uniform, as well as their counterparts from the Military and Prisons, include desilting gutters that were heavily choked with unwanted materials to allow easy flow of waste liquid, fumigation to kill larvae, and collection of heaped debris.
The minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, who led the exercise at Sukura, Chorkor and Agbogbloshie market, told journalists that the level of sanitation in the above mentioned areas were appalling, hence his decision to lead “by example.”
The purpose of such exercise, he noted, was to step up efforts in raising awareness about cleanliness in the country.
He urged the public to do away with their political affiliations and join in the campaign to rid the country of filth, since any outbreak of disease would affect all, irrespective of the political party one joins.
“This clean-up exercise is to send a clear signal that cleanliness is responsibly shared,” he noted. He said the desilting of gutters, clearing of weeds, fumigating and clearing heaped debris was a more commendable way of preventing diseases and urged the public to stick to such exercises on weekly basis.
He urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enforce their bye-laws on the environment and take appropriate legal action against anyone who flouts such laws.
The Public Relations Officer for Zoomlion Ghana, Robert Coleman commenting on the exercise called for attitudinal change towards the environment.
“Regardless of the number of logistics, personnel that we deploy and the public education that we embark on, if the people do not change their attitudes, our efforts will be in vain,” he averred.
The Mayor of Accra, Alfred Okoh Vanderpuije, commenting on the exercise said his outfit will continue to prosecute people who flout the laws of the city.
But in doing that, he noted that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) would distribute waste bins to every household. Currently, there are 25,000 deficit waste bins in the city.
ACFO P. K. Donkor, who led the Ghana Fire Service in the clean-up exercise, urged all Ghanaians to join in the exercise and to ensure a cleaner environment. Other areas that were cleared by the security agencies include; Madina, Abeka, Lapaz, Teshie and Nungua.
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