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Opinions of Saturday, 11 June 2016

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

Perennial floods: Are they engineering failure, lip-service or lawlessness?

Last Thursday’s rainfall that measured 143 millimeters and submerged Accra under floods will now clear any doubt about the fact that flooding in our country has become a perennial problem.

Media reports from advanced parts of the world indicate that Ghana is not alone when it comes to the seasonal downpours. In those cases, they are mainly what is referred to as ‘acts of God’ which are, therefore, somehow inevitable.

Here too, one could easily attribute such occurrences to the effects of global warming.

But in all these, one critical question remains: are the perennial flooding and its attendant challenges the result of engineering failure, lip service or sheer lawlessness on the part of the citizenry?

Engineering, without a doubt, plays a critical role in the designing of our cities and towns.

For that matter, the construction of drainage systems at the right places and settings should ordinarily succeed in carrying excess water through the drains to a water body for the water to cause no immediate danger to residents.

But lessons over the years have seen a departure from this ideal situation, leading to troubled minds asking the question whether our engineers have failed us in the execution of their professional task of properly planning our cities and towns against the onslaught of floods and other disasters.

On the other hand, however, whenever flooding occurs, committees are formed to find out the causes of the disaster and make recommendations to avert a recurrence.

Such committees do their work and submit their reports, but do we implement the recommendations of such committees to the letter? Or we just pay lip service to the reports in the name of finding solutions to these perennial problems?

Quite interestingly, these human factors that culminate in disasters keep on recurring in a mind-boggling fashion and often with some high level of disdain by those who have decided to sear their consciences and throw caution to the wind.

The Daily Graphic holds the view that the time has come for the activities of these miscreants and other contributory factors that have combined to create chaotic situations during the rainy season to prick our collective conscience and stir up a revolution geared towards proactively waging a concerted campaign against filth in our cities and irresponsible acts on the part of those who choose to ignore the laws.

We must come to the point where we say ‘enough is enough’ and that we will no longer allow death and destruction by floods to be a perennial ceremony.

Mr. President, we appeal to you to apply the whip on your appointees, especially metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives who fail to use the statutory authority of their assemblies to compel the people to respect the laws.

After all, when it comes to spatial planning, the assemblies have a duty to ensure adherence to the standards.