Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea, has urged citizens to complement government’s efforts in keeping the gutters free of solid waste by periodically de-silting them.
According to him, doing the above is the solution to the perennial flooding in the meantime because the financial strain on the government has made it difficult for it to embark on mass de-silting exercise to rid the gutters of solid waste ahead of the rains.
Constructing or de-silting gutters, Mr Akyea, MP, Abuakwa South said, was capital intensive and that there was no financial space currently for the government to embark on such a project now.
“When we mooted the idea that it is capital intensive, the view of Cabinet is that we should go gingerly because the financial space is small [because] free Senior High School, Planting for Food and Jobs and other flagship programmes have eaten up the money so they said we should go gingerly.
That is why we are concentrating on the Odaw in Accra and Dikyemso in Kumasi which have major challenges and affecting residents in these areas,” he explained.
Mr Akyea made the call in an interview with journalists after inspecting de-siltiting works at Chokor and Sukura in the Ablekuma South and Central constituencies in Accra on Saturday.
“I’m tempted to come to the conclusion that he [the President] has very good ideas to clean up Accra but the nation is challenged financially,” he added.
He said it was time Ghana started constructing covered drains to leave residents with no option than to properly dispose of their solid waste.
“This subculture of throwing things into the gutter is not helping us. If we don’t stop it, we will all have challenges even before we are able to construct the underground drains.
“We have a whole programme to affect the drainage system in the country not only here in Chorkor but it is very capital intensive,” the Minister said.
According to him, embarking on such a project nationwide would cost the country more than US$10 billion and suggested that a bond should be considered to deal with Ghana’s poor drainage system.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who also joined in the exercise, said it was time Ghanaians were conscientised that keeping the gutters free of solid waste is in their own interest.
“It is about attitudinal change so in as much as we focus our attention on cleaning and enforcing our bye laws, we also try as much as possible to persuade people to change their attitude towards sanitation and that is very fundamental because once the people appreciate that their environment have to be clean, that leads to a cleaner environment,” he said.
He said the culture of throwing rubbish into the drains was uncivil and derails governments’ efforts in keeping the environment clean.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI