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Feature Article of Friday, 1 June 2012

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Ghanaian Politicians Must Unite To Tackle Pollution

Ghanaian Politicians Must Unite To Tackle Pollution & Environmental Degradation

By Kofi Thompson

I had an interesting email conversation with a young gentleman, who chanced upon my article about preserving Ghana's rain forests, just this afternoon.

He was disturbed by the lack of interest shown by so many Ghanaian politicians, in environmental issues - many of which are existential in nature, and pose a long-term threat to life in Ghana, as we presently know it.

He drove by the Korle Lagoon every morning to work. And felt scandalised that hundreds of millions of dollars had been paid to Dredging International and other companies, to clean up the Korle Lagoon (ironically, it was grandly called the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project), and to turn part of its banks into a recreational park for Accra's residents - yet there was nothing to show for it, as far as he could tell.

Incredibly, there's been deafening silence from our political class, thus far, over this major scandal - which has been overseen by three different 4th Republican regimes.

Then there are the hazardous and unregulated activities of scrap metal dealers, and the hordes of young men who strip down electronic waste products shipped illegally here from elsewhere (disguised as previously-owned computers) at the Sodom and Gomorrah slum.

They have made a complete nonsense of the Korle Lagoon project, in his view. And he doesn't quite understand why the city authorities, have turned a blind eye to what would not be tolerated in any nation, in which the authorities were alive to their responsibilities to society at large.

Only heaven knows the dangers posed to the health of Accra's residents by the unregulated activities of those scrap metal dealers - and the resultant pollution and degradation of the natural environment that results from it.

The inability of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to rid the city of those lawless scrap metal dealers who work in Sodom and Gomorrah - many of them undocumented aliens from the countries that border Ghana - busy degrading the city's environment with such impunity, is an example of what happens, when Ghana's politicians refuse to work together, across party lines, to resolve the many problems that confront ordinary Ghanaians on a daily basis.

For Mother Ghana's sake, it is time they did so. A word to the wise...

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