Prosper Pi-Bansah, Ho Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), a month ago went through the Ho Township solely to boost compliance with sanitation dictates.
That tour, was a coordination between the Volta/Oti branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the Ho Municipal Assembly, under the Association’s 70th Anniversary focus, sanitation.
Along with a host of Journalists, the MCE inspected drains, some homes, food joints, shops and business premises along the streets from the Centre of town, (Civic Centre), took a detour at the OLA traffic lights towards the main public transport terminal, ending at the market.
The three-hour snap-check has produced mixed results.
The slogan of the Volta/Oti sanitation awareness project is “Don’t Drop that Litter There,” a catchphrase seeking to nudge people to stop dropping litter anywhere, anyhow.
Walks through some of the places visited showed spectacular transformation in some areas, visible improvement at others and completely no impact at some expanses.
The MCE, who was with Aaron Amedzo, Municipal Director of Environmental Health, during the tour, showed disgust at the un-kept yard of the State Transport Corporation (STC) and the squalid surroundings also the chaotic hanging of posters at that central intersection, Civics Centre.
Mr Pi-Bansah was also displeased with the squalid inside of the eatery, Aunty B’s Fast Food, at the traffic lights, leading to OLA Senior High School main gate.
In there, were withering cassava peelings and other residues of food visibly hanging from makeshift garbage bins.
The floor was un-kept.
Within the review period, the gutters along the Asogli Street, from the traffic lights to the OLA Senior High School main gate, continuing to the precincts of the main Ho public transport terminus, generally untidy during the visit have vacillated from clean, somewhat clean to really stuffy.
In the morning of Monday, November 25, that stretch was rancid.
There was complete transformation at the Progressive Transport Owners’ Association (PROTOA) Ghana, taxi station along the OLA SHS-Market Street.
The taxis, operating at the now usually spotlessly clean compact spot, ply Tsito, some Adaklu towns, Kpeve, and Asikuma, among other towns. The station has a dustbin.
On the other hand, the main public transport terminus and its environs appeared not impacted.
Many times during the visits, scent of urine wafted in the nooks, rubbers in singles and in heaps abound and travelers threw rubbers out of vehicles barefacedly.
Indeed, most times, the big garbage containers were half full, but grounds at the station were carpeted with all shades of litter.
The public health mess around the confines of the culvert, at the intersection near the main public transport terminus is persisting.
The slight improvement is as a result of the pause in the rains.
When it rains the waterway there, in the vicinity of Amegashie homes, is a convergence arena for all categories of garbage in the municipality.
There is a hydrological problem in the area, which when tackled, should stop clogged gutters emitting slimy effluent.
The garbage heap found inside the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) facility near OLA Senior High School, during the rounds of Mr Pi-Bansah, was intact, uncollected, as at the morning of November 25.
Human attitude, showing in the haphazard disposal of waste in Ho, as indeed in other parts of the country, remains the core of the sanitation problem.
Many shops and homes along the path of Mr Pi-Bansah’s visit did not have dustbins.
Indications were that these shop owners and residents heaped and torched garbage irregularly, as a way of disposal.
At every opportunity during the rounds, a representative of Zoomlion, the principal garbage disposal company undertaking garbage disposal services in the municipality, would offer services to noticeably hesitant members of households and shop owners.
Cartons and disused plastic containers were the garbage bins in many of the homes and shops visited.
Mr Aaron Amedzo, Ho Municipal Director of the Environmental Health, who was with the MCE, may have to pick on community visits and education for a long while, as the non-compliance rate is high, perhaps 100 percent in some communities.
Rigorous enforcement could be quixotic.
At every opportunity during that rounds Mr Amedzo gave education on the illegality of placing refuse or any unwholesome matter on streets enclosures or open places.
It appears for many Ghanaians to drop litter, especially plastics right ‘there’ when finished with contents is instinctive.
A Police Officer walked up to his car parked in a backyard just swept, opened it (car) and flung water pouches on to the ground there on the ground.
As part of a workshop on forestation some years ago, participants were taken to a woodlot. Their participants were served with snacks.
A majority of participants, after eating, dropped the takeaway packs there in the village, off Xevi on the Ho-Aflao trunk road, in the Akatsi-North District.
A German, in the team of workshop sponsors, picked them up, stuffed into a sack and into the boot of a project vehicle.
The Volta-Oti GJA in its latest outing painted the walls of the Civic Centre in the national colours and with bold inscription, Keep Ho Clean. That is an alarum, yes a battle cry, tolling bells.
Ghana Black Stars, the national soccer team has cheer songs. There is urgent need for ‘shame’ songs for non-compliance in sanitation, especially dropping litter anyhow.
Perpetrators must be made to feel they are doddering pantaloons, terribly out of tune with the sanitation drive.
We desist from dropping litter criminally and half the battle is won.