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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Columnist: Emmanuel Graham Nyameke

Prosecute those who litter the environment

In a twit by “The Ollai”, it reads that an amount of GHc 197m has been allocated for distilling gutters. Dear Ghanaians, we are always complaining of the hard economy we are facing yet we do not want to make it any better. Imagine this amount which is to be used for works on our gutters. Could such an amount not be used for other developmental projects which will improve the quality of our lives? However, this huge amount is being eaten by already constructed gutters.

Suggestion! Government must use about GHc 35m to educate the public. Education about the environment must be intensified. Thus, when people are educated and then know the importance of keeping the environment clean they will not litter around. Educating the public on the need to keep the environment clean is a half way through solving the public. Another, those who are involved must be prosecuted. The law must work. Thus, those who are involved in the act of littering must be put behind bars. Besides being put behind bars, they must be made to pay a fine.

This is a complete waste of resource. But we must not blame the president and those in charge but our very selves. We all have lost the culture of cleanliness and are accustomed with dirt. One would not pass on a street or the other without finding rubbers dropped by human beings. We beautify our streets with the rubbers we eat from and drink from. We are aware of the provisions made to keep the nation clean. Bins have been provided for dumping our polybags yet some many more prefer dropping them on the streets. Having done these, the same people will sit in their houses and complain that Ghana is dirty. You have made the nation dirty.

One abhorring attitude that many Ghanaians have is dumping of refuse into the gutters. In the capital of Ghana, one will find rubbish in the gutters. How do they do that? The night becomes the eve time for such people to dispose their rubbish. A mother could send her daughter to empty their bin into the gutters. They usually forget or either that they do not care whether there cannot be proper drainage of water. We must note that flooding will surely take place as long as we continue with such awful attitudes. The gutters are not for dumping of refuse.

Another thing that many Ghanaians do in our gutters is easing themselves. Defecating in the gutters seem to be a bill that parliament has passed over the years. Many citizens feel that defecating in the gutters is exercising of their rights. No way will defecating in the gutters be a right! You have a biological right to defecate, but you have also a conscience that directs you as to how to exercise this biological drive. Imagine the scent that our gutters produce? Many have fallen sick as a result of the smell produced from our gutters and far more have had attacks as a result of those bad smells. Where from all these bad smells? Instead of Ghanaians pouring liquids into the gutters, they add all other things as if they want to serve the gutter with a balance diet. We all must note that solids must not be dropped into the gutters. Choking of gutters! We choke our gutters when you and I drop solid things into them. We choke our gutters when in the name of blocking erosion, direct the sand into them.

Lives lost: I don’t want to remind anyone of bad memories. But lets us remember those who have died as a result of flooding. Great men of the nation have lost their lives to flood. How many more are left to die in the same condition before we desist from this culture? How many valuable things do we want to lose to flood? Let us change.

To those who sell on the gutters! Do not take away the covers contractors used to seal the gutters. In Nungua, many sellers (market women) have removed the metals that have been used to seal the gutters in order to prevent any solid from getting into them. They have replaced them with slaps. This attitude is bad and not Ghanaian. A Ghanaian is one who want to be proud of his nation and so wouldn’t drop rubbishes on the street. A Ghanaian is one who will not defecate into the gutters. A Ghanaian is one who wouldn’t turn the gutters into a refuse dump. A Ghanaian is one who seeing the environment as his immediate sister will take good care of her. A Ghanaian is one who will hold his nation in high esteem. Are you a Ghanaian? If you are, then change your attitudes for they don’t show that you’re a Ghanaian.

To the president: we know how you love Ghanaians. We appreciate that love. We however want to make a request. That you do well to instruct contractors to always cover our gutters with concretes. When this is done, there wouldn’t be flooding. When this is done, there wouldn’t be an extra cost to by mosquito nets. When this is done, the environment will smell good and people wouldn’t fall sick as a result. Permit me Mr President to take you to New York, where you recently visited. I would want to believe that you noticed how their gutters were covered. I wouldn’t be surprised if you answer is, you did not see one. Please! Do same here in Ghana for us. We are proud of you. Again, the various assemblies should provide bins both for rubbers and for solid at various points.

To my dear citizens. We are doing well but there is still “better” and “best” for us to do. Let us make the environment our own. I once visited an institution in our country, entrance to the compound read, “keep the environment immaculately clean”. In fact, the environment is very clean. Asking some students about what was to me a great surprise, they said: should they find any rubber on the ground, it meant that a stranger had come there. This was in St. Peter’s Regional Seminary. Let us have this culture of keeping our environment immaculately clean.