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Opinions of Friday, 19 June 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Proper Environmental Management, Period!

Rainy season or not, Ghanaians of all ages and genders and ethnic affiliations and class and cultural backgrounds ought to be protected at all times.
Thus, one could not but vehemently disagree with Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthr that, somehow, it is only during the rainy season that Ghanaian children ought to be most protected.

The Vice-President was reported to have made the foregoing observation during a brief memorial service at the Flagstaff House for the June 3 and 4 victims of the fiery flood that swept through the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area of Central-Accra (See "Children Must Be Protected During Rainy Season" TV3Network.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/9/15).

The best protection for each and every one of us; Ghanaians are beginning to learn though through the hard and rude way, is good environmental practice.

And this means, the need for city governments to strictly enforce laws against litterbugs with stiff punitive fines and possible jail terms, in much the same way that many a magistrate's court regularly slaps long jail terms on the pates of stealers of livestock and child molesters.
The open sewer systems in our cities ought to be redesigned and modernized to synch with the best of their kinds in the most advanced democracies.

For we learned in the wake of the June 3 and 4 floods that a significant part of the problem had to do with clogged open gutters all over the Greater-Accra metropolis.

What this mean is that, until all the open sewers are modernized, the city sanitation department has to ensure that litter and garbage are regularly dredged out of these river-sized gutters.

Needless to say, much of the mosquito infestation of our cities stems from such abjectly low practice of personal and environmental hygiene.

In other words, it would have been more constructive, leadership-wise, for Vice-President Amissah Arthur to have used this solemn occasion to roll out a comprehensive program for appreciably reducing the annual devastating impact of flooding in our cities and residential areas, in particular, and the country at large.

It is also rather annoyingly ironic for the former Bank of Ghana governor to exhort Ghanaians to pay sedulous attention to weather forecasts put out by the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA), knowing well that his own government does not pay much attention to the same agency.

You see, contrary to what the Vice-President would have most Ghanaians believe those who lost their lives in the June 3 and 4 fiery-floods did not end up so tragically because they had paid little or no heed to the GMA forecasts.

Rather, it was primarily because those of our leaders entrusted with keeping our environment neat, safe and sound had woefully failed to do so, either by deliberate neglect or sheer administrative incompetence.

A new kind of leadership is called for; and it is obviously not the kind of leadership Ghanaians are presently saddled and afflicted with.

It is the kind of leadership that regards the collective interests of all Ghanaians as the topmost national priority, and not one that merely pontificates and endlessly procrastinate matters requiring prompt and definitive addressing.