The sanitation blame game

We focus our editorial comment on the sanitation blame game triggered by the Minister of Sanitation and Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda, at a forum in Accra on Friday which has ignited a national discourse over who must make Ghana clean.

We understand the frustrations of the sector minister in blaming the filth engulfing the national capital, Accra and for that matter, across the country, on Zoomlion Ghana Limited, which has been contracted to keep Ghana clean, through the provision of sanitation services.

Some section of the public have questioned the mandate of the new Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, as the country continues to be engulfed in filth, and asked for the minister to be axed, when rumours and speculations of cabinet reshuffle were rife.

The Ghanaian Times has noted the forthrightness of the minister and the swift response from the Zoomlion boss, Mr Joseph Siaw-Agyepong that Accra is clean as compared with the Gambia. As to whether Ghana or Accra is very clean, we leave that to the public to judge!

In all honesty, we are unenthused about the comparative analysis with the Gambia. We would not go into the merits of comparing Ghana with the Gambia. All that we are interested in is for Ghana to be clean period!

The citizenry, as right holders need a clean environment to live in to avoid contracting preventable diseases associated with unhygienic and filthy environment.

The duty bearers in particular, owe it a sacrosanct responsibility to provide the services that they are being paid for and the government must also make the resources available and indeed timely enough to the companies in whose hands  we have entrusted our sanitation destiny into to provide the services that we need direly.

As citizens, we also owe it as a civic duty to help to maintain a clean environment for our own good and stop the habit of always thinking that someone is paid to keep the environment clean. We have a responsibility to keep the environment clean, as the scriptures maintain that cleanliness is next to Godliness!

The rainy season is around the corner and the major concern of city dwellers is the perennial flooding of the city as a result of choked gutters and drains.

No doubt, a clean environment would lessen the magnitude of the floods and that is why we add our voice to the call by the Head of Drainage at the Hydrological Service Department, Seth Kudzordzi for the government to speed up the process to access the 100 million dollars credit facility for the reconstruction of drains in Accra and other cities.

We also support the “closed” drain advocacy in preference to the open drains that have become refuse dumps (solid waste) through irresponsible behaviours on the part of some citizens.

Ghana is marking time in keeping a clean environment and that is taking a heavy toll on our citizens in terms of ill-health and fatality through the frequent outbreak of cholera and diarrheal diseases during the rainy season.

Although we laud the National Sanitation Day as a strategy to get Ghana clean periodically through mass clean-up exercises, it is regrettable that garbage removed from choked drains and gutters are often left on the edges of the road, without being collected to the dumping site and slip back into the gutters. Clearly, it has become a situation of taking one step forward and two steps back!!

We entreat stakeholders to avoid the blame game by tackling the huge challenge facing us head-on. Changes in behaviour toward the environment, provision of resources to clean the garbage that we generate and holding duty bearers’ accountable for their stewardship is the way to go!.



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