The Executive Director of Earth Service, Mr. Joshua Awuku-Apaw, has suggested that besides educating Ghanaians on environmental issues, punishment should be used as a deterrent to those who pollute the environment.
“One thing is however clear; serious efforts have not been put into advocacy, education and awareness creation on the sanitation menace. People's attitudes, behaviour and mentalities are complex and therefore need to be given attention always.
It is important for civil society to support government in efforts aimed at keeping our surroundings clean and tidy always,” he added.
Mr.Awuku-Apaw made these comments at a day's workshop on environmental reporting on Wednesday in Accra. The workshop was organized by Earth Service, an environmental non governmental organization, and sponsored by the Centre for Development of the World Bank Office in Ghana.
“Poor sanitary environments besides creating an eye sore scene also carry along health implications some of which sometimes assume epidemic proportions.
“Governments and communities have over the years tried their best to address the issue of waste management in various ways. In some cases, even physical force had been used but the problem still persists.”
Ghana's environmental problems include deforestation, bush fires, water pollution and land degradation.
The environmentalist wondered why the numerous environmental problems persisted despite efforts made by government and communities to tackle them.
“To those of us in the urban areas, whenever the environment is mentioned, what comes to mind immediately is sanitation and management of the waste we generate.
This is an extremely worrisome problem because its consequences are manifested within the shortest possible time for all to see. Waste and sanitation problems are real menaces which need the attention and inclusion of all to address.
He condemned the practice of some people embarking on clean-up campaigns as mere “ceremonial gimmicks which must be looked upon with scorn.”
According to him, “Clean-up campaigns must be seen as special efforts to keep our surroundings clean and tidy and not activities designed to be mere ceremonial gimmicks, and it is here that we challenge associations and groups to desist from that practice.”
The General Manager of Graphic Communications Group Limited, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo asked environmental journalists to first educate themselves so that they could effectively educate society on environmental issues.
“To inform, is to be informed. First educate yourself before you can educate others. Develop yourselves so competently that you leave your footprints in the sands of history. If you don't do that, experts will continue to bamboozle you.”
He said it was irresponsible for people to refuse to clean their immediate surroundings adding, “If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then un-cleanliness is closer to Satanism.”
He called on journalists not to allow their craving to break even financially becloud their sense of news judgment. “Give the people what they want without succumbing to their baser instincts.”
The chairman of the function and President of the League of Environmental Journalists, Mike Anane, expressed concern about untreated waste which sometimes found its way into water bodies serving several communities.
By Sylvanus Nana Kumi