Let’s remember our commitment to good sanitation

On assumption of office in 2017, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, declared his vision of making Accra, Ghana’s capital, the cleanest city in Africa.

Undoubtedly, the President is poised to tackle the problem of sanitation, towards good health and national development.

Indiscriminate disposal of refuse, generated at homes and workplaces, is a common feature, which if not tackled, can result in the spread of deadly diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and malaria.

President Akufo-Addo, in furtherance of his drive for a clean environment, launched a National Sanitation Campaign, with a call on all Ghanaians to treat every day as sanitation day.

The President asserted that every government department and agency, including the Seat of Government, would assign two officers, known as Sanitation Marshal and Deputy Marshal, to oversee that the by-laws on sanitation are judiciously abided by.

He cautioned that Ministers, Chief Executives and Chief Directors of government departments and agencies would be held accountable for any lapses in the failure to comply with this directive.

Ghanaian Times is re-visiting this issue on sanitation because, since President Akufo-Addo’s declaration of his campaign, Accra, other cities, towns and communities in the country continue to be engulfed in filth, with almost every street and gutter choked with solid and liquid waste.

The President’s initiative is not the first, as measures by successive governments to curb this national menace have not yielded the desired results.

Previous governments, as part of efforts to ensure a clean environment, initiated a national sanitation day, which is a voluntary clean-up day for all Ghanaians.

It seems some Ghanaians do not to recognise the importance of sound sanitation practices, and are not showing interest in clean-up exercises.

Though the President’s quest is considered an appeal to the conscience of Ghanaians to keep the environment clean, we call on individuals to take note of the constitutional obligation for individuals to promote health, and help make the country a better place.

Article 41 (k) of the 1992 Constitution unequivocally states it shall be the duty of every citizen to “protect the environment”.

Ghanaians must show commitment when it comes to sanitation because cleaning our communities would help reduce diseases, and prevent flooding when drains and gutters are cleared for running water to flow freely.

The horrors of June 3, 2015, are enough to remind us on the dangers of living in dirty surroundings.

Sanitation is individual responsibility and not necessarily the duty of the government alone, even though there is the need for all stakeholders to ensure a clean environment.

But, for individuals to avoid random dumping of refuse and defecating at open places, government must effectively implement sanitation policies, ensure enforcement of sanitation regulations, and assist people to put up sanitary facilities.

We share in the sentiments expressed by the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, that the ministry alone cannot ensure the attainment of the President’s dream of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa, and promoting sanitation in Ghana.

But, we expect the ministry to ensure the successful enforcement of regulations and laws on sanitation.

The Ghanaian Times expect the team of young men and women, the National Sanitation Brigade, instituted by government to enforce rules and regulations on sanitation, whether in state establishments, in private establishments or households, to effectively discharge their duties.

We also urge individuals, chiefs, queen mothers, religious leaders, civil society organisations and private sector operators to collaborate with government to make the sanitation campaign a success.

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