Over the past years, the Odaw River, which stretches across the Graphic Road in Accra, has suffered from heavy pollution through the activities of residents and traders along its banks.
Now one major source of pollution that is increasingly becoming an eyesore and a menace is the activities of scrap dealers along the banks of the river off the Graphic Road.
After burning electronic gadgets and other items to retrieve the metal scraps, the dealers either dump the residue into the river or abandon it along the banks, only for it to be subsequently washed into the river whenever it rains.
The end result is that the Odaw River has become choked and with the least rainfall it overflows its banks and wreaks havoc on adjoining residences, industries and commercial establishments.
Considering the increasingly high demand for ferrous scrap metals, culminating in a fast-growing scrap business, the pollution of the Odaw River is likely to worsen.
It is in this respect that the DAILY GRAPHIC calls on the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory institutions to act swiftly to stop the scrap menace and the wanton pollution of the Odaw River.
Such an intervention, apart from saving the government huge sums of money that will be spent on dredging the river, will also go a long way to safeguard the health of the scrap dealers, many of whom are constantly exposed to dangerous chemicals and substances in their attempt to retrieve scraps.
We appreciate the enormous unemployment challenges facing the country and also recognise the fact that the scrap business offers jobs for hundreds of people, particularly the youth, for which reason stopping the business entirely may not be feasible.
Sometimes the craze to turn waste into wealth has given some of our unemployed youth the false impression that any endeavour that keeps the hands occupied is acceptable.
However, we are convinced that with the advent of technology, there could be a better way of retrieving scraps and disposing of the residue than the crude methods currently being employed by the dealers.
The DAILY GRAPHIC, therefore, challenges our scientific brains to come up with innovative and better ways of handling the scraps, so that we can protect the Odaw River from pollution and at the same time keep the hundreds of scrap dealers in employment and safeguard their health as well.
As the AMA envisions to make Accra a Millennium City, it cannot afford to look on unconcerned while a central part of the city is engulfed in waste materials.
Elsewhere in the world, natural water bodies and especially water fronts are developed into tourist sites, with many restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities, to earn the respective countries good income and jobs.
The DAILY GRAPHIC believes the Odaw River can be transformed into a useful water body pleasant enough to become a tourist site, instead of leaving it as a dumping site.
We need to act now before the worst happens.