The nation has officially entered into a period of mourning of those who died in the torrential rains and the inferno at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, although we have been mourning since the day of the disaster.
While we go through the processes and programmes listed for the period of mourning, the Times believes it’s time to assess the situation and work out the possible solutions to them.
There are natural disasters which are beyond human expectation and control; on the other hand, many others could be said to be human-induced, the floods being no exception.
Most of the floods we have experienced could be attributed to either encroachments on waterways, or the drainage system itself.
Many of the gutters and drains in the urban areas are choked with waste materials, especially plastics, and we have always adopted knee jerk approaches to such problems, instead of finding lasting solutions to them.
The tendency has always been to rush to desilt the drains at huge costs to the nation, as we have started doing in the present circumstance, but this offers only temporary relief, as the drains are soon choked again.
It’s about time we began looking at other options, including recycling of waste materials.
The establishment of the Accra Compost Plant brought some hope that, at long last, Ghana could begin to put its mountains of waste to profitable use, but this has not made much impact on curbing the flood situation, because, apparently, the company is not receiving the needed support.
As a permanent solution, we should consider a complete ban of polythene materials and the plastics used for bagging sachet water.
Ghana needs to adopt international standards and practices, and take a cue from other nations which have effectively tackled the problem.
Our neighbour, La Cote d’voire, has taken the lead in banning the use of plastics and is benefiting tremendously from it. We must learn from our sister country and meet our health needs.
The President needs to muster the political will and courage, take that decision, and ensure its enforcement.
As some other nations have done, companies in the plastic industry should be encouraged to diversify or move into paper packaging, by offering them incentives and tax holidays.
The Times believes it’s time we put aside all political considerations and adopted stern measures to save our people and the nation from future inundations and catastrophes.