Feature Article of Thursday, 11 August 2011
Columnist: Twumasi, Patrick
A people and their way of life Pungent, choky smell, swam of flies, commuters shielding their nostrils with handkerchiefs of varied colours in queues waiting for a means of transport and the ultimate mosquito blood soaker executing passengers during the day and at night without an iota of mercy, in all these the heap of refuse keep on building with no possible sight of clearance. Such is the scenario at the only military lorry park in Ghana. Unfortunately it is thriving and seems to be sustained. It is bad.
A stroll through the main lorry parks of the country will reveal a sore and sorry state of filth haven their real days without any attempt to be cleared as if Ghana is at the late evening of her life. Recently, cholera claimed dozens of lives of Ghanaians who cannot be called innocent souls, because they have also played their direct and indirect role in littering in the generation of the filth which consequence was the epidemic resulting in their demise. It is right to do the apt, may their souls rest in perfect peace. But what has been the lessons learnt so far? Critical observation will assert that, Ghanaians have inculcated no didactic from the past. The stench which emanates from these abandoned waste and the accompanying dark liquid substance which flows from it sends shivering waves to the spine. I am not a prophet of doom, but I can sense epidemic beyond cholera might be on the way.
Additionally, the sight of the teaming and spectator scenario of the varied flies gives the surest indication yet, something dangerous is in the offing or looming. Why does it seem like we have been defeated, even before the fight? Most often I have the fear that, should something more amplifying than cholera break; many are Ghanaians who will go with the wing rapped in the ambit of the icy hands of death. We agree to disagree, but consensually a critical analysis will inform any level headed fellow to know that Ghana has lost control on managing waste.
In spite of the blanket query on every good citizen to find the reasons for the current state of filth in the country, Ghanaians as we are, we ought to examine our life style. Why can’t we discipline our mouths when journeying within our cities, towns and villages? Almost every moment we are buying without thought of how we are to dispose of peels, shells, sachets and wrappings. If this situation persists bereft of any check to thwart its perpetuation then we should prepare to be our own witnesses on the day a pandemic emerges to vent anger on the lives of citizens of this country. It is amazing how care free manner in which some citizens litter without any shred of fear for by-laws of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies. Do these MMDAs even enforce the said by-laws? The perpetuators are the elite of society. How can we continue to live this way as if we do not know that beauty is in order? Tell me how come we are under such siege of filth in this our paradise which we have sworn to protect. This is not fair. What have we got to smile about, the Odaw River, the drainage in our nation being turned into dust bins, our lorry parks full of sachet rubber or the careless spitting and urinating indiscriminately? Dear reader, this is not politics matter, we are failing or firmly, we have failed ourselves and generations to come will pass their own verdict on us. Guilty or not guilty?
Despite the investment in education over the years, most citizens keep wallowing in an attitude that exposes us to health threats. Surprisingly, the educated fellows are those who are spear heading the insanitary behaviours. History has scattered tales of nations that had citizens who are best at ignoring admonitions to recues and rescind a way of life, but lived to perpetuate such, and the consequences were devastating. These citizens are not a generation any nation will refer her posterity to. In our quest to claim the status as the gateway to Africa and the icon of democracy, Ghana cannot endure filth as if it is part of our way of life. Democracy at the peak is not all about elections and freedom of expression, but, key to it is seeking to protect the citizens who own the power which is keeping the state together.
Adding, any attempt to allot blame to an entity especially the government will rather be unfortunate, lame, unpardonable, limping and inexcusable. Littering, full dust bins and abandoned is a usual sight daily, with the waste management companies defaulting in their duties, as well as the appropriate supervising agencies seated without scintilla of concern. Therefore, the issue at hand is all embracing with every facet of social institution drifted in one way or the other. We need to approach this problem which is relaxing and hoisted before us with care. Productive and healthy citizens are lost to preventable deaths due to our own actions of careless management of waste and inaction by refusing to take pragmatic steps to attack this health hazard with all the anger in us, as if it’s an invading external force. Nonetheless, the various land field sites are said to be full. How did we manage these sites? Ghana’s population is not comparable in an inch to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other countries around the world, hence, why have we failed to deal with this situation decisively? The food eaten in the country cannot be attributed as the cause of the early and overwhelming waste that authorities have to battle with daily. Have we also taken cognizance of the second hand general goods imported into the country? This is pure importation of waste matter, which authorities should apprehend with all the vehemence. Some of these slightly or used gadgets, cloths and other accessories are virtually waste which are pushed to us to deal with. Should we stand by for this to happen in the name of politics and lack of jobs? Is this what we call the beacon of Africa or that is what we are dreaming to become? Then let’s try to give reality to our own dream. For the reason that, the issue of filth is basic, hence, failure to deal with it will be denoting gab in our capacity to comprehend and apprehend more complex challenges of human development. Blame is neither the suggestion nor solution, because we or some citizens have contributed in our individual or collective ways to trigger this unfortunate scenario.
The Bible recommends
that ‘………….train up a child in the way he should go and when grown will not depart from it…….’ A key question is how were we trained? Have we or some of us just decided to abandon the training imparted to us, or its sheer laziness? It’s embarrassing each day when one walk pass or transit these lorry parks or stations. Can’t we quit littering and the almighty indiscriminate dumping of both solid and dark poly bags stuffed with human extractor? This is our bane? We can stop it. Can’t we?
Concisely, we need to put a stop to these behaviours which are dragging us hook, line and sinker into epidemic or firmly, a pandemic. Ghana should not wait till something beyond cholera incur before we zoom into the corridor of blame game. Before then, action now!!!!!!