The negative consequences of urbanization
Have you wondered why many people may spend close to two hours, stacked in a traffic jam, when driving from the 37 Military hospitals to Legon? Or have you ever wondered why you may never get a passenger vehicle easily when moving from Osu-RE to Nungua? Do you know why taxi drivers may refuse your huge monetary offer as you try lobbying them to drive you from Osu to Airport?
As you think about the answers to the questions above, let me ask an additional question. Do you know why there is so much filth in Accra and both the AMA and the Zoom Lion will continue to face challenges managing the inappropriate disposal of waste? Have you considered the fact that, though the AMA has developed an initiative to produce energy through the recycling of waste, this initiative may take a longer time to implement? Do you even know why it may still be difficult for the wastes in Accra or Kumasi to be separated into biodegradable and non- biodegradable wastes for the purpose of recycling?
Has it even strike your mind, one of the major reasons why some laws established by government remains inapplicable? Do you know why the decongestion exercises embarked on by the AMA during the NPP administration and recently the current administration has failed? Or why a policeman may prefer to take GH¢ 5.00 from a 'trotro' driver who flouts road regulation than to arrest him?
Do you even think about causes of high level of unemployment rate in the cities of Ghana, especially in Accra and Kumasi? Or do you have an idea of why the cost of labor in the rural areas is so high but is so low in the urban centers? Have you ever seen a university graduate with good results struggling to find a job in the urban centers whiles a rural illiterate is making a lot of money in a village somewhere?
Do you know why infrastructural provisions in the cities never last long as compared to those in the villages? Has it ever occurred to you that the number of hands that touches a thing determines its longevity?
Urbanization has consequences both negative and positive. But, I am a bit troubled by the negative consequences it poses to those towns where it is taking root. For example, it should not amaze you to hear of high amount of monies house owners take form their tenants in the urban centers as compared to the rural areas or less urbanized towns. When demand is high and supply is low the price of a commodity increases. Concentration of high level commercial activities in the cities will lead to rural-urban migration. This will put pressure on available jobs opportunities besides the economic vitality of the rural areas will dissipate.
Decreasing the supply of basic social amenities to the rural areas will force the men, especially, to abandon home for better experiences in the cities living behind the aged un- cared for and children unguided, hence broken homes becomes inevitable. When rural areas become ghost towns only few teachers and doctors and other service providers with high sense of moral inclination will be desirous to go there.
There are so many bad consequences urbanization can pose. I believe that these bad consequences are even more than the good because when there is a huge gap between urban centers and remote villages the opportunities of the rural areas will be hidden from the youth who will vent their frustrations of unemployment on government and the innocent in society.
I view of this work; I call on government and all private individuals, including myself, to work towards bridging the economic, educational, and the health gap between the north and the south and between the rural areas and the urban centers. When economic prospects in the north are great many will be forced to migrate from the south to the north and for that matter decongestion of the south can be possible. The poor sanitation situation in the urban centers due to population increase will be minimized as urban-rural migration is encouraged. The AMA and Zoom Lion will be able to control the decrease in population and manage the filth respectively.
More factories must be sited close to the sources of raw materials they deal in, as it is the case; the rural areas are the main sources of raw material for manufacturing industries in the country. Whiles secondary industries are established, primary industries like local handicrafts or Kente weaving industries will be heavily funded so as to provide employment for the youth and a ready market for their products. This will encourage many youth who intend to move to the cities and the major towns to stay as well as force those in the major cities and towns struggling to get employment to go back home. When modernity hits the rural areas over-congestion of the urban centers will be reduced. We must not fear to give to those in the rural areas the benefits enjoyed in the cities and the major towns. We all have the right to a better standard of living no matter where we are.