Waste management, sanitation and hygiene technologies have existed since the Bronze Age.
The Maya of Central America, for instance, gathered consistently every month to collect and burn their garbage in large dumps. Archaeological findings also suggest anatomically shaped toilet seats at several sites, presumably in many private and public buildings.
Other instances of very early urban sanitation are seen in the Indus Valley around 2600–1900 BC. As cities grew, the people constructed communal toilets with seats that were more densely packed together to meet the pressure of population growth.
If nothing at all, this is an attestation to the importance man has attached to health and hygiene throughout history. It is obvious that the ancient world was motivated by good health to ensure a clean environment.
However, current good sanitation practices are not motivated by only good health but a lot of factors.
For example, the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) — which shows the list of countries attractive to tourists — mentions, among others, health and hygiene as crucial factors that influence tourists in choosing and planning destinations to visit. That is why, as a country, all stakeholders should be interested in joining hands to find lasting solutions to the menace of engulfing filth in the country.
In 2013, a study sponsored by Zoomlion Ghana Limited, a waste management company, at the Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University, established that 82 per cent of the funds accruing to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) was spent on solid waste management.
The Daily Graphic is, therefore, not surprised that Zoomlion has decided to distribute 500 waste management trucks to all municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies (MMDAs) to help carry out sanitation-related projects in the assemblies.
It is heartwarming to note that this has come at a time the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has pledged to ensure that Accra becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa by the end of his first term in office. The equipment provided by Zoomlion could not have come at a better time than this.
As we commend Zoomlion for the supply of the trucks, we challenge the assemblies to put them to their maximum use to achieve the objective for which the company distributed them. It is only in doing this that Zoomlion and other organisations will be motivated to do more for the development of the assemblies and the country at large.
In celebrating Zoomlion for the progressive deed, the Daily Graphic wants to remind all that the menace of mounting waste in all parts of the country that seems to defy solutions is man made and can be dealt with if all of us decide to adopt and abide by basic sanitation principles. We should, therefore, consciously change our attitude towards the environment.
We also reason that laws are meant to ensure that societies live peacefully and orderly. Therefore, it is incumbent on the assemblies and the law enforcement agencies to activate the laws on sanitation and enforce them to the letter. We suggest that punishment to be meted out to culprits should be deterrent enough. In this wise, we suggest community service, whereby convicts will be made to sweep, weed or scrub areas in the community where they committed their sanitation-related crimes.
We can surely win the war against filth.