We should all be responsible for our surroundings

BY: Daily Graphic
 We should all be responsible for our surroundings
We should all be responsible for our surroundings

One issue that has become an albatross around our necks as Ghanaians is our insanitary environment.

Ghana used to be a very clean country where the citizens paid attention to their environment.

Better still, we took the responsibility to keep our surroundings clean, especially in the era of the ‘saman saman’, ‘tankas’ or sanitary inspectors.

Apart from the fear of being hauled to court by the inspectors, cleanliness was so ingrained in people’s psyche that they would not dream of littering wherever they found ourselves.

Today, however, managing the waste from our homes has become such a Herculean task that environmental service providers are literally at their wit’s end trying to figure what to do to salvage the situation.

The near hopelessness of the situation is due to the fact that Ghanaians have become nonchalant when it comes to managing personally generated waste.

Some, with the excuse of the non-availability of waste bins, discard waste anyhow and anywhere, while, even where bins are provided, some people decide to throw their garbage around, instead of into the bins.

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Well-dressed gentlemen and ladies either driving or on board vehicles as passengers throw away litter onto the streets with careless abandon, and woe betide anyone who speaks against that action — he or she would be asked if it was his or her duty to clean the mess.

Yes, some even reason strangely that if they do not make the mess, sanitary workers will not have any work to do. The Daily Graphic is amazed at this attitude and wonders where we got that skewed reasoning from.

Although statistics show that the rate of waste generation in Ghana is 0.47 kg per person per day, which translates into about 12,710 tonnes of waste per day per population of 27,043,093, the Daily Graphic believes that this is waste that can be managed with the right attitude and infrastructure.

That is where we side with former President Jerry John Rawlings’s call for a social sense of responsibility in managing the insanitary conditions, lest we become engulfed in the filth.

The time for sitting on the fence is now over and we have to police our communities to ensure our environment is kept clean at all times.

The bye-laws of the assemblies must be made to work and those found culpable of littering the environment be made to do community service when they are arrested.

Cholera and the other sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea that have plagued the country in recent times are as a result of the insanitary conditions in which we are living in most places.

As the records show, when outbreaks such as cholera occur, it is not only the person or people living in insanitary conditions who are affected; those living in well-kept environments are also affected.

That is why we can no longer say we are not concerned when people choose to defecate on our beaches or litter the streets and our environment indiscriminately, and it is the reason we must now assist the assemblies or local government authorities to deal with this canker once and for all.

We can make that happen when we all become vigilant as far as the environment is concerned.