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Opinions of Monday, 24 August 2020

Columnist: Adjei –Kyereh Ronald

The hope in the dim star

Government promised to deal with sanitation Government promised to deal with sanitation

Did you know that about 432,000 people die out of the poor environmental care every year according to W.H.O? Did you also know?

That about 45% of deadly diseases emanate as a result of poor environmental care? And do youk now our environment can be very clean and clear like the sky?

The darkness has not disappeared totally from the sky; it was 6am on 20th of June 2018, when the news became very educative and interactive among the news casters and the general public. I was very amazed hearing those facts and ideas speculating on radio and all social media platforms, to my surprise, I heard Ghana is the most dirtiest country in Africa according to the host and some people who called to air their views. The discussion was so interactive and fascinating to the extent of having most listeners’ attention.

I have heard of Toronto in Canada being the most amazing and cleanest country in the world.

And it is very difficult for anyone to even spit in a garden; this made me ask and searched more, being anxious to know the root of this great practice. I concluded by understanding how responsible the citizens are, in keeping their environment tidy and healthy.

They also understand that; your environment contributes greatly to your health. I can say, they have a bright star. The following are some practices that causes the poor or neglect of environmental care; indiscriminate waste disposal, mind-set developed by citizens, and high level of Pollutions.

Setting the ball rolling; Bad behaviour of citizens leading to indiscriminate refuse disposal, the behaviour of most Ghanaians is surprising and very pissed off. We dump refuse anywhere and everywhere without shame or thoughtfulness, this reflects on us having a dim star since we have neglected our responsibility of taking care of the environment. Most Ghanaians are ignorant of the fact that, their environment contributes to their health. As Myles Munroe once said “where purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable”, this shows that Ghanaians are really abusing the environment.

Adding more wood to the fire; some citizens and even residents, have developed negative mind sets on being responsible for the care of the environment, they always comment that.“

The Zoomlion workers (private waste management institution) have been paid to clean the city and towns, if we don’t litter the streets, they won’t have any work to do…” This quote emphasizes the apathy some of the residents in the various towns and cities have developed towards environmental sanitation, a situation which has resulted in heaps of wastes on road sides.

However, research has shown that environmental sanitation is the single most important factor that endangers human health and sustainable management of the natural environment in cities in developing countries especially in Ghana. Focusing on environmental sanitation, the World

Health Organization defined it as the control of all those factors in man’s physical environment which exercise or may exercise a deleterious effect on his physical development, health and survival. Although environmental sanitation in Ghana has often been cited as a major environmental and human challenge, it remains an ignored issue. Despite the increasing environmental sanitation related research efforts in Ghana and in other developing countries over the past two decades, each year poor hygiene, and mismanagement of liquid and solid wastes and lack of sanitation facilities contribute to the death of hundreds of poor people.

To draw down the curtains; pollution has also become an order of the day in Ghana, whereby bush burning, sand winning, release of fumes from vehicles and industries are very rampant in most towns and cities. Since they are not questioned or punished for these acts, they continue to practice them even more often. The fumes released contain poisonous gases, which tend to deplete the ozone layer and cause some diseases like lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. Ghanaians should understand that, we are the hope in this dim star, thus we can change the poor environmental sanitation we have found ourselves. Whenever the people are ready to act there is a change. In the presence of all these activities, there are strong effects of poor environmental care.

The attitudes of city residents towards environmental sanitation coupled with weak institutional capacity have affected the development of the towns and cities in a number of ways. First, those in authority mentioned that poor attitudes towards environmental sanitation are a major cause of choked sewerage system with solid waste. As a consequence, flooding has become a normal phenomenon accompanying rainfall in the country. This situation does not only worsen the environmental sanitation conditions but threatens the lives of residents especially during heavy downpour. The poor state of environmental sanitation in the metropolis has contributed to various infectious diseases such as malaria, cholera and diarrhoea.

Also, the city residents who called into the show to air their views reported high incidence of early mortality rates in the country which they believe poor environmental sanitation is a key contributory factor. The residents’ perception, regarding mortality rates was confirmed by government’s report which showed that mortality rates among children below the age of five are significantly higher in the three northern regions compared to any other region in Ghana.

Inadequate environmental sanitation facilities and poor attitudes coupled with poor management of the landfill site appeared to have posed considerable health risk to residents of the countr especially those living close to the landfill site. Supporting this is a study by United Nations

Environment Program which revealed that city residents living close to landfill sites and refuse disposal sites particularly in developing countries are greatly exposed to severe health hazards resulting from pollution of drinking water and soil. Ghana landfill site has not received treatment since 2010 due to financial constraints. According to the residents, this situation has resulted in the flow of effluents especially during heavy downpour from the site into ground water which poses health risk to them. We should also clear the mentality of littering the environment for the

“Zoomlion” to get work, and rather accept responsibility and make our environment clean.

As the show got hotter and almost everybody is calling in, I also took the opportunity to call and address to the Ghanaian citizens and residents that, our environment is the dim star, in fact all the practices and the effects they are resulting into; has made it dim, but we are the hope that can make it bright again. If only we will follow these few principals.

First, seeing our environment as useful like our bedroom and homes. Not dumping refuse at anywhere and anytime, I promise to advocate for dust bins at vintage points in every town or city, which will help to curb the rampant and erection of heaps of refuse. I had a support from the host that she will also play her role well in the caring of our environment.

Secondly, I pleaded with the stakeholders to help educate the general public in the dumping of waste and also industries and drivers on the effects of the fumes they emit into the atmosphere.

Thirdly, towns and Cities should build policies and make sure those who break them are punished since “the next to the punisher vows in pain not be a punisher”.

Lastly, everyone must learn to be each other’s keeper by correcting anyone who tries to litter the environment, by setting a clean-up rally Just as the Church Of Pentecost have started and spreading good environmental education and practices.

The show ended very well, as I saw people putting the information they have had into action, this article covers the causes , effects and some remedies of poor environmental care, I am very sure when we put these responsibilities into action, our environment will be very clean, and clear like the clouds in the sky.

Thank You.

Adjei –Kyereh Ronald’ Nurses Training College-Pantang.