fbpx

Wondering, another greening project - is Ghana planning to export weeds?

BY: Ajoa Yeboah-Afari

I find it extremely laudable, the ‘Greening Ghana Project’, the Government’s drive to take “action towards restoration of degraded landscapes in the country, mitigate climate change and inculcate in the youth the values of planting and nurturing trees”.

Years ago, this paper, The Mirror, was probably the first in the Ghanaian media to raise the alarm about Ghana’s disturbing loss of forest cover.

As I was the reporter who wrote that front page story for the paper, since then the subject has been of concern to me, thus ‘greening the country’ issues have always attracted my attention.

However, I’ve been wondering more and more whether there is also another, secret or unannounced project to encourage the flourishing of grass/weeds for the export market. (A weed is defined as “a wild plant growing where it is not wanted”.)

As the saying goes, you never know; maybe there are countries which need weeds, countries that import weeds and which have contacted the Accra authorities.

Otherwise, if there is no such intention to grow and export weeds, why are the city authorities, or whoever has that responsibility, evidently looking on unconcerned, as weeds threaten to swallow up our capital city?

I have written on this topic a number of times, as have others, but the defiant weeds continue to reign practically everywhere.

Is anybody in charge, anybody who cares that, despite all the recent impressive architectural developments the city can boast of, its appealing ambience is at risk because of the march of the weeds? A problem which could, and should, be solved by simple weeding.

Still, perhaps the Daily Graphic will have better luck and get the response which I, too, have been seeking to the question the paper posed in its issue of Friday, June 3, 2022: “whose duty is it to maintain the lawns and mow the grass?”

Featuring front page pictures of two of the embarrassingly overgrown places in Accra, the text had the heading: “Who maintains our medians?”

The caption: “The Daily Graphic has observed with concern the overgrown grass at the central reservation (median) of most of the highways and other roads within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area.

“The grass, meant to be well-maintained as part of the efforts to beautify the landscape, has become an eyesore ….

“The onset of the rains has worsened the situation, as they have come with their attendant fast growth of grass and weeds.

“When the Daily Graphic went round, its cameras captured some of the overgrown medians on the Weija-Kasoa Highway, the Achimota-Pokuase, as well as the Legon-Madina highways….

“The Daily Graphic is asking: whose duty is it to maintain the lawns and mow the grass?” it concluded.
Of course I would be elated should the paper get a response to its question. Nevertheless, from my experience, I’m certainly not holding my breath to see if that will happen!

Recently, going from the Spintex Road to Kaneshie, I observed with consternation that median from La to Danquah Circle was in a disgraceful state, terribly overgrown.

More shockingly, even the stretch from the Ako Adjei Interchange, passing in front of the Nima Police Station and President Nana Akufo-Addo’s residence, and down to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, presented another picture of a weeds sales point!

Who is responsible for this embarrassing state of neglect, and right in front of the President’s home?!

Another place of concern is the Awudome Cemetery area. The weeds situation there is just mind-boggling!

Similarly, a couple of weeks ago, when I happened to be on the Pokuase Interchange, en route to Kumasi, I saw to my dismay underneath that showpiece Interchange, the shrubs vainly struggling to overcome the weeds there.

Indeed, the shoulders of the road from that acclaimed, four-tier tourist attraction Interchange, to as far as the Nsawam Junction, are so overgrown that one wonders whether there are no Local

Government structures there; and no chief; no Member of Parliament.

This column has highlighted countless times the need for Accra’s environment to be one of blooms, flowers, but is anybody reading or listening?

In fact, the environs of most of the city’s institutions, monuments and high profile addresses are choking with weeds! Other examples: the walls of the 37 Military Hospital have weeds skirting around them, and the weeds continue right down to the Naval Officers Mess junction.

Same story with the median opposite the Ridge or Greater Accra Regional Hospital, past the imposing Scripture Union Tower. Even the central reservation in front of the Holy Spirit (Catholic) Cathedral needs rescuing from weeds! And, unbelievably, the Graphic Road overhead bridge now has grass sprouting along some sections!

Why should Accra, capital of our country, be noted more for its luxuriant weeds than for a pleasing environment of flowers?

And if I can see something wrong with this appalling neglect, presumably others, too, people in authority, people in government, can see it. So why are those responsible not taking action to rid the city of the abundance of weeds, weeds and weeds?

It can’t be a problem of labour, when there are so many young people visibly trying to earn a living by hawking pastries and sundries in traffic. If they were assured of a regular income, why wouldn’t some of them accept to clear weeds?

Furthermore, why, for example, can’t the city authorities invest in lawn mowers and other machinery, as well as training programmes? I believe that the availability of equipment, training and promise of a salary would make such a job opportunity attractive to the unemployed.

While the country is being refreshingly greened, it shouldn’t be the case that weeds too, are encouraged to thrive – unless, of course city authorities have identified an export market for Accra’s weeds and have a contract to supply.

If that is the case, then long may the Accra – and Ghana weeds – flourish!

But if not, if Accra is not aiming to export weeds, then somebody needs to sit up and start an urgent weeds clearing project!

Especially in view of the heavy rains being experienced, there should be a ‘Project Zero Tolerance for Weeds’!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.