Sanitation in Ghana: CLEANING UP THE MESS!
One of the major threats to the sanitation dreams of the Ghanaian nation is urbanization. Over congestion in the major urban centers— Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani, Temale, Tema, and others— makes it difficult for the wastes to be appropriately disposed and managed by individuals and Zoom Lion respectively. For instance, due to high population densities in these urban centers, waste containers are barely enough to contain all the wastes disposed into them in a day or a week. Sometimes, these containers gets overly full before the Zoom lion could empty them as a result the surroundings of these containers develop into mountains of filth, which expands every day and night making the work of the waste management companies very difficult. But, there is hope; there is always a way forward and the key virtue government, everybody, needs to adopt is a virtue of prioritization or focus.
Recently, in assessing the achievements of the NDC administration for last year, there were many criticisms that were meted out against the party owning to their promise of ‘rooting out’ filth from the country during their first hundred days in office. The party failed at this because it did not prioritize this objective. The primary objective of the Zoom Lion is to manage waste; hence what can facilitate this initiative is the ability to recycle wastes, especially plastic wastes.
I think the NDC government was wrong to have put their confidence in their contract with Zoom Lion. Zoom Lion is not a waste collecting company but a waste management company when measures are not put in place to control the inappropriate disposal of wastes by the general public Ghana’s dream of good sanitary environment will vaporize in hopelessness. How can biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste be recycled together? How can these different types of waste be separated together? This ought to be the questions running through the mind of the NDC, the party in government. I have come to realize that one of the major sources of waste is the homes; tons of organic and inorganic wastes mixed-up together come from this source. So, if there is any place to begin the initiative of proper wastes disposal and separation of inorganic wastes from organic wastes is the homes.
Education is an indispensable key that will unlock the sanity of the masses. I suggest that there should be house-to-house visitation by appointed personnel not to bring to book individuals who fail to keep their environment clean but rather educate people on the need to keep two rubbish containers; one for organic wastes and the other for inorganic wastes. I believe that advocacy groups mainly led by the youth on proper waste management must be created and be empowered or be resourced to carry-out this initiative. When people are educated sufficiently on the indispensability of proper waste management they will realize the need to assist the government in power to make this nation a better place.
Secondly, I think that other private sector actors, apart from Zoom Lion, must team-up with Zoom Lion and AMA come up with an initiative of rewarding persons who commit themselves to proper waste disposal and management. For example, the government together with private sectors may put a system in place that rewards people who commit themselves to separating organic wastes from inorganic wastes. A sanitation fund can be created and donation made may go into paying people who bring only organic or inorganic wastes to specified dumping sites so as the encourage the separation of inorganic substances from organic substances for purposes of recycling.
Organic waste in organic wastes dumping sites can be used in the production of organic fertilizers than can be exported out of the country or consumed internally. Artificial fertilizers create so much health risks as they compound in the human organic system. We must consume organic fertilizers in a way of growing crops to boost the health status of individuals in the nation.
On the other hand, inorganic wastes in inorganic wastes dumping sites can be sold out to manufacturing industries for the manufacturing of clothes, bags, and so on as some private individuals have started doing.
But, I confidently say that anybody who reads this article has a responsibility to educate those around him on proper waste disposal and the need to separate organic wastes from inorganic wastes and he must as well practice what he teaches.
FIDEL Y. TETTEH MODERNGHANA.com