The Sunyani Municipal Environmental Health Director, Mr. Daniel Owusu Korkor, has observed that the deeply rooted attitude of most Ghanaians explains the sanitation challenges in the country.
“The poor sanitation we are experiencing as a country is as a result of a deep rooted attitude of Ghanaians, and until there are drastic changes, our sanitation problems could become bigger,” he said.
Mr. Owusu Korkor made these observations during a clean-up exercise in the municipality, organised by the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and monitored by The Chronicle. The exercise saw staff of the Assembly, led by the Chief Executive, Mr Ansu Kumi, political party members, identified groups, and a section of the general public, sweeping, weeding, and de-silting drains. “
Mr. Owusu Korkor, however, insisted that Sunyani remains the cleanest city, despite the deteriorating sanitation conditions. “From my point of view as a sanitation officer, I can confidently say that Sunyani is still the cleanest city in the country, despite the increasing challenges in the management of sanitation issues,” he said.
Mr. Owusu Korkor expressed worry that the very people, who rallied behind the Assembly to clean up the city, immediately littered the surroundings afterwards.
“Some of the people who joined us in the clean up exercise left the trash of the beverage and water we gave them on the same floor, an indication that a lot more work needed to be done on the mindset of residents on sanitation and the health implications,” he said.
He commended the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Ansu Kumi, who has been in office for barely a few weeks, for his commitment to helping them get things right in the city.
“I am happy the MCE has given indications that he would help us implement the laws,” he said. He was hopeful the authorities would not interfere in the administration of the MCE, and rather support him to make the city clean.
“Sometimes when we try to do that, some authorities above stop us, but the MCE has shown some commitment, and we hope it will continue just like what the Greater Accra Regional Minister is doing. We hope some powers above him would not stop him,” he said.
He thanked the MCE for the logistics provided for the successful clean-up exercise. “The MCE provided logistics for the clean-up, and we appreciate that effort, which made the exercise successful,” he said.
Addressing the people after the clean up exercise, Mr Ansu Kumi stressed that Sunyani was gradually losing hold on its cleanest city in Ghana accolade.
A situation, according to him, which had been largely attributed to the failure of the residents to appreciate the need to keep their surroundings clean, though the city authorities cannot exonerate themselves from blame.
“Sewers in front of residential apartments, stores, and businesses are choked with filth from careless throwing of waste, thereby compromising the health of residents,” the MCE noted, and pointed out that a lot more will and desire is required to implement by-laws targeted at improving sanitation, with the hope of returning the “Sun City” to its glorious days.
Mr. Ansu Kumi admitted that the laws had not been implemented as expected, and that the Assembly would work to ensure the city was made clean again. “We need to be proactive in the implementation of the laws, so that the people will get the desire of, at least, ensuring their immediate surroundings are clean,” he said.
“People have still not cultivated the sanitation culture in the Municipality. Residents drink water and drop the trash on the floor, regardless of whether there is a waste bin or not. This attitude must change,” the MCE said.
Mr. Kumi said, going forward, the Assembly would enforce the by-laws and the laws enshrined in the Local Governance act, as well as the continuous sensitisation of the people.
“I am still in talks with my management, and I want them to buy into my vision on the way forward before I roll it out. Hopefully, by the end of November, 2021, we would come out with a clear-cut policy as to how to keep the city clean. And we would consider localising the clean-up exercise, as long as it would inure to the benefit of the Assembly and the people,” he assured.
CLEANEST CITY TAG
Sunyani, the capital of the then Brong-Ahafo Region, was voted the cleanest city in Ghana for the year 2007 by the Ghana Tourist Board.
A citation accompanying the award prize and a plaque said at the time “this cleanliness and freshness of the sights and sounds of this city makes it the toast of many visitors to the Brong-Ahafo region”.
It said: “Though recently elevated into a municipality, this city continues to employ effective sustainable waste disposal and traffic management practices.”
“Thus, it is fast becoming the preferred destination for conference tourism with the support of its star rated and abundant catering service providers.”
As part of its award, DPP, an advertising agency, offered a billboard worth GH¢1,000 for advertisements by the Sunyani municipality.
Following that development, the then Municipal Chief Executive for Sunyani, Lawyer Kwame Twumasi-Awuah, presented the award to the paramount chief of Sunyani, Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri II, at his palace.
Mr Twumasi-Awuah said at the time that the award followed the industriousness of the staff of the assembly and its development partners like Zoomlion, a waste management company.He said the assembly had plans to plant along principal streets of the town to beautify it.Mr Twumasi-Awuah urged the media to educate the public on how to keep the city clean.