There are a thousand and one reasons we must keep our environment clean. One of them, as advanced by our front page story, is so that we can have lovely beaches, as pertains in other jurisdictions.
Today, June 5, marks World Environment Day (WED), but, sadly, there is little to celebrate or commemorate in Ghana, since the country is still grappling with poor environmental sanitation.
While we agree that the environment encompasses all flora, fauna, the atmosphere and all that relates to it, such as climate change, the air we breathe, rainfall, among others, our living environment, which is key to enjoying good health, comes first.
Our actions and inaction at our places of abode go a long way to affect the larger environment of the entire world. The sea, which carries a lot of our waste, is shared by all the continents, and that is why we cannot stop shouting ourselves hoarse over the insanitary conditions all around us.
It is also the reason many well-meaning Ghanaians have been urging President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to make good his pledge, made in 2016, to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by the end of his term.
The Daily Graphic finds it unpardonable that at a time when the country must be making inroads into other sectors such as manufacturing and engineering, we are still talking about how to manage the filth that has engulfed us.
But, be that as it may, we believe that we have brought the situation upon ourselves because our local authorities are not able to apply the by-laws in their statute books. We have left everyone to do what he or she pleases, forgetting that since we live in communities, whatever is done by one person affects another.
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It is because we have thrown caution to the wind that while other countries are enjoying good dividends from their well-kept beaches, we are not experiencing the same here. Rather, some indigenes of our coastal communities practise open defecation on our beaches, and no amount of plea or caution will dissuade them from doing so.
For over 100 years we discharged untreated liquid waste into the ocean in Accra, at what came to be infamously known as ‘Lavender Hill’. Even though the practice has stopped, communities along the coast continue to use the beaches as dumping ground for their huge piles of refuse.
Not only that; the garbage is burnt right there on the beaches, thereby marring the beautiful sandy coastline that nature has bestowed on Ghana. Incidentally this year’s commemoration of WED in China is on the theme: 'Air Pollution', and we cannot continue to say we have little to do with carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere if we enjoy burning our waste in the open.
As we poorly manage our waste and throw garbage around indiscriminately, we contribute not only to making diseases thrive among us; the plastics and other waste that we deliberately throw onto the streets and into the drains end up in the sea and on our beaches.
If we stop the rhetoric and practise proper waste disposal, make use of the bins provided at vantage points and public places, stop rearing animals on our beaches, stop using the beaches as dumping sites for garbage and as washrooms and rather promote the development of our beaches into tourist sites, we will rake in a lot to boost the local economy.