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Opinions of Friday, 31 December 2010

Columnist: Yankey, Stephen Duasua

Television Antennas- Littering Our Towns And Cities

Television is one of the necessities of life. You find it almost everywhere you go; homes, schools, hospitals, prisons and even on the streets. In fact, for one to be able to call himself ‘a man of marriageable age,’ he should at least own a television set; be it black and white or colored, for the viewing pleasure of his wife. It is this quest and craze for the ownership of TV sets that has led to the virtual littering of the Ghanaian sky by our own form of skyscrapers- ‘TV poles.’

I was especially struck with disbelief when I spotted how TV antennas have really littered Apam, a town in the Central region of Ghana. I was travelling from Cape Coast to Accra when I decided to take a sneak peep at Apam. Trust me, the sight was awful. What amazed me more was the fact that about five or more antennas could be found situated on top of a single household. What makes the situation worse are what have come to be known as “compound houses.” A typical compound house can host about ten families. Per the number of families, vis-à-vis the number of TV sets, that makes it ten TV antennas in a single household, and that even worsens the already worsening situation
I wrote this part of this write-up from the top of a two-storey building at Mamobi, a suburb of Accra. This gave me a perfect view of Mamobi, Nima, parts of Accra New Town, Pig Farm and Kotobabi. You can’t imagine the number of antennas I saw. Counting them was like counting the stars that decorate the beautiful heavens. The story is no different at Effiakuma, a suburb of Ghana’s oil twincity, Sekondi-Takoradi where the problem of TV antennas is virtually an eyesore. Some of these antennas come in various sizes, length and even shapes. While some seek to be as tall as Osama Bin Laden’s World Trade Center, others just hang on, possibly content with the quality that they produce.

The big question that deserves to be asked is, does it matter the height of your antenna? Is there no way there could be an embargo on the erection of outdoor antennas? How can the various television stations help curb this rather appalling phenomenon? I can’t help but wonder if all the owners of these skyscraper-like antennas really pay the stipulated TV license, as the Government would be making lots of revenue from that. For me, I strongly believe that this craze for TV sets which has capitulated into the mounting of outdoor television antennas can be really regulated. These antennas are not only visual aids but are also death taps. In view of their astonishing height and lack of proper staking or support, most of these antennas collapse during rainstorms, and you can imagine the harm it can cause- damage your roof, that of your neighbor and even injure a passer-by.

Such is the dilemma we find ourselves in. This problem if not carefully looked at will definitely spell doom in due course. This emphasizes the fact that there are many pressing issues that our ‘leaders’ must carefully consider, but in most cases they ignore these issues. And for all you know, these ‘leaders’ use Satellite dishes and not TV antennas, thus not understanding what the problem is.

Come to think of it, how does an aerial or bird’s-eye view of our towns and cities look like? I bet they are nothing short of miniature skyscrapers sticking up in the deep blue sky. The earlier the right thing is done, the better, and once people’s attention are drawn to the problems that antennas can pose, we can make headways in the fight against the erection of antennas.