Filth in Accra: Unveiling our shame

You may remember the lyrics of Celine Dion’s “A New Day Has Come”

let the rain come down and wash away my tears
let it fill my soul and drown my fears…

Elsewhere, the environment is left even cleaner in the aftermath of rains. The contrast persists in Ghana.

After last week’s morning downpour, the rains only came down to unveil our shame. The indiscriminate dumping of waste in some parts of the capital Accra has just gotten out of control.

This image was shot at Sodom and Gomorra. According to a resident, the  situation even gets worse at times when it rains. Funny or sad as it may be, he was about to defecate there when I met him. Realising that I had rudely interrupted his ‘business’, he asked that I quickly take the shots and go.

Gutters at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra

Surprisingly, 70% of waste management in the country is handled by the private sector while government agencies handle 30%. The private sector is assumed to be more proficient, and yet the problem keeps escalating. The Environmental Service Providers Association, ESPA, is an association of waste management companies that provides solid and liquid waste management services in Ghana.

In an interview with the Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ama A. Ofori-Antwi, she stated that continuous education, attitudinal change and the enforcement of the sanitation bylaws is the first step at resolving the issue. She also complained that the country lacked adequate landfill sites.

She said it is about time every household separated their garbage before they are disposed off.

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The shores of Chorkor in Accra

In conversation with Kojo, a colleague journalist who happens to have lived in London for several years, he stressed that there is no way he or anybody would drop garbage on the streets of London.

But in Ghana he does. Why? because no one cares. So it is not surprising to see foreigners throw garbage on the streets, whilst they would not dare do same in their home countries.

It’s this attitude that destroys a nation. If everyone disposed of their garbage properly – in designated bins or took their garbage home -, surely Accra would be as clean as our villages.

The public sector frequently get the backlash but, clearly, the private sector cannot solve this problem of waste management if every citizen does not get involved.

After all sanitation is a shared responsibility, play your part!

Source:|Ghana By Ayerkie Narnor |