21.05.2005 General News

WB calls for intensification of environmental campaign

21.05.2005 LISTEN

Accra, May 21, GNA - The World Bank Country Director, Mr Mats Karlsson, on Saturday called on environmental campaigners, district assemblies and plastic product producers to intensify the crusade on waste management and disposal in the country.

"Ghana stands on the threshold of being engulfed with plastic waste, needs an immediate remedial measures to control the problem," Mr Karlsson stated at an exhibition on waste management dubbed: "Art in Action," mounted at his residence in Accra.

The Art in Action Exhibition sponsored by the French Embassy in Accra, aimed at using divergent medium of art to educate and sensitise the public on waste management and proper disposal of waste.

Mr Karlsson said the problem of waste management would remain unsolved if left for the assembly alone to solve and called on stakeholders, including zone councils, assembly members as well as voluntary groups and residents to join hands in keeping the municipalities clean.

The World Bank Director said the Art in Action project is designed to ensure good health and safety for West Africans as well as using the medium of art to propagate the message of environmental cleanliness. "Art depicts the truth in a non-political, diplomatic and unbiased way... the crusade for healthy environmental practices needs to be given an artistic language," Mr Karlsson stated.

Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the capital City cautioned against environmental degradation, noting, "it is not plastic that litters, it is human beings that litters," and called for attitudinal change of Ghanaians.

He commended the artistes who are from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Benin for exhibiting creativity in waste disposal. He said the Ministry was still faced with the problem of mobilising enough resources to tackle the sanitation problem in the cities. Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said the sanitation problem had been compounded by rapid urbanisation and population pressure on infrastructure facilities, indiscriminate disposal of refuse by residents, non-payment of requisite fees by beneficiaries and the lack of effective involvement of the Sub-Metropolitan Assemblies

"in the whole business of waste management in the cities". He urged assembly members to champion the cause of educating the public on the need for good sanitation practices and to initiate weekly clean-ups in their communities.

Most cities in Ghana are now crawling under mounds of waste littering the streets, gutters and markets.

Markets in Accra and other cities have been overwhelmed by the stench of garbage, attracting hordes of flies.

Mr Samuel Olou and Professor Joe Nkrumah, Project Coordinator explained that the aim of the Art in Action Project was to promote inter-cultural and inter-religious goodwill and exchange among artists, societies and nations around the world.

Art in Action is about people, society and the intelligent inquiry into the diverse elements, which unite us as one people. Mr Olou said our aim is to work at the beautification of urban open spaces - street corners, parks and gardens, undertake socio-cultural work among prison inmates' hospitals, and to stimulate cultural awareness.

Various artefacts of plastic waste were exhibited at the forecourt of the World Bank Country Director's residence.

The Art works include artistic decoration of bicycle with waste sachet water bags, an impression of the relationship between natural environment and a degraded one and the need to bury waste or it would bury mankind sculpture.

The Exhibition is a collaboration between 13 Artists from West Africa, the World Bank and the French Embassy in Accra and would be mounted at vantage points in Accra and other cities to sensitise the public on hazards of environmental degradation.

The Good Old Wulome Cultural Troop added musical art to the exhibition by dishing out traditional tunes and dance to the admiration of the about 500 guests, which include diplomats, Ministers, Members of Parliaments, musicians, artists and a cross-section of the public.

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