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Opinions of Friday, 7 November 2014

Columnist: Boateng, Emmanuel Agyemfra

Tackling the sanitation menace from the grassroots

We applaud ourselves for the obedience we gave to the President’s order to go out and clean our surroundings on the 1/11/2014 and which will be repeated every first day of every month till till.I learnt it was started in Lagos a long time ago and have been instilled in all residents of the state.

During the launch of the National Sanitation Day some few weeks ago before the national communal labour,His Excellency the Vice President said he was very sad he is the special guest for the launch!why should he be launching something we can simply avoid or control.

I know for sure this National Sanitation Day came up after the Vice President gave the AMA Boss a ten days autumatum to clean Accra but it didn’t work! We should tackle this issue of sanitation from the scratch and it is going to save us the every thirty days National Communal Labour which brings out the President and other top dignitaries to come and sweep.It is time producers of mineral water,both sachet and bottle provide waste bins at their catchment areas and at main public places.Coca Cola and other beverage producers should also provide waste bins to their main distributers to be given to their customers.

Recycling of some of these plastic waste is one of the best ways in combatting this sanitation problem.Not too long ago,I watched on TV a promo that was urging citizens to send their plastic waste to vantage points in all District Assemblies to collect money,but to my best of knowledge I haven’t seen or heard people taking their plastic waste to these Assemblies because the publicity was low and the District Assemblies in their own way are not also helping to champion this nice course. Our Law courts should start sentencing those with minor offences to community services and in a way will ease the pressure in our correctional centers. Sustaining this National Sanitation Day will be the most difficult thing to do if we don’t start tackling this menance from the grass roots.We should have waste bins on the campuses of our schools and have strict littering rules to enforce it.Compound or Labour prefects should be made to set up sanitation inspectors in their respective schools to help this idea materialize. The various transport unions are also doing us a great harm,after collecting dues from drivers I expect them to be providing dust bins or waste bins at their stations or ranks and instill the Cleanliness spirit in them. If we have Traffic and Motor Courts,I think its also high time we we have Sanitation Courts to penalize offenders. How much of the Internal Generated Funds of District Assemblies goes into waste management?we had a low turn out during the clean up exercise because some people believe after paying the authorities,they don’t know why they should come join them to clean the environment. Our beaches should also have sanitation guards standing by to penalize any one who is seen defecating or littering around. I always congratulate the Okyenhene for his nice initiative on sanitation some years ago which I think its still on course.The Late Veep,Aliu Mahama can never be left out when it comes to matters of sanitation in the country. I humbly urge our media houses and community information centres to dedicate some of their air time to the education of citizens on sanitation. Our Religious bodies can never be left out when it comes to sanitation education.We should fight this sanitation indiscipline from the grass roots. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.