Filth Here, Filth There

Mohammed Adjei Sowah – AMA Boss

The subject under review does not imply that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is not on top of his job. Far from that, it is about how the management of garbage in the nation’s capital is not responding to the efforts being exacted on it by the authorities.

It is also about how those who generate the filth, the residents, are not yielding to the basic demands of waste management.

We do not envy the work of the CEO, Adjei Sowah, who like others before him, is battling with the many stubborn residents of the city especially in the business district whose attitude is anything but acceptable. These persons, mostly hawkers, do not consider it necessary to cooperate with the AMA in the latter’s bid to rid the city of garbage.

The appalling condition has prevailed for as long as the population of the city hits its current staggering figure and the sanitary inspection of yore became a chapter in the history of Accra.

Even in the residential segments of the city, the story is no different. The gutters are choked with garbage because residents do not think there is anything wrong with littering the drainages with all manner of filth especially biodegradable materials.

A few days ago, a publication in a state newspaper was about the filth that has engulfed the city. It is not as if nothing is being done about the situation but the fact is that unless we alter our attitude and the state adopting novel responses such as contained further in this commentary we would be stuck in this appalling hellhole.

Involving opinion leaders, churches, mosques and traditional authorities in a national crusade about the importance of filth management, is an appropriate move towards arresting the unbearable situation in the city.

If cleanliness is next to Godliness, it stands to reason that the clergy should be involved in educating their congregation; the importance of hygiene and waste disposal.

In Islam too, hygiene has an important place. The fact that the two Abrahamic faiths uphold cleanliness makes it even easy for the authorities. They must reach out to the clergy of both faiths with a view to brining them on board for a clean Accra and country.

It is now common to have residents empty their garbage in nearby gutters hoping that these would eventually end up in the sea. Such persons do not even know the effect of their bad attitude on the environment and how this can affect the food chain.

We do not know the statistics of the quantity of polythene products in the country but we all know that the figure is huge and constitute a global challenge.

We must consider going the way of Kenya and others where such products have been banned. We must return to the regime of paper bags because these are biodegradable.

Our garbage problem is overwhelming but the solution does not lie with the AMA only. It is a national challenge demanding a policy adjustment such as the banning of polythene products.

Polythene products constitute a considerable percentage of the garbage generated in Accra and so when we tackle this, we would have achieved a lot in the way of ridding the nation’s capital of filth.