The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is to embark on a project which will educate 10,000 basic schools across the country on healthy environmental practices.
The project is the second phase of a nationwide campaign dubbed “Citizenship Week Celebration”.
It seeks to remind pupils and students of their responsibilities as active citizens in nation building.
The Chairman of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, said the aim was to ensure good environmental governance, focusing on sanitation.
“It is important for us to situate ourselves within the context of environmental dynamics based on our core mandate, which is to educate the public,” she told the Daily Graphic in Accra.
The week-long programme, in collaboration with the European Union (EU), will be held from June 11-17, 2018.
Sanitation for sustainable development
Speaking on the theme: “The Environment and You,” she said there was an upsurge of indiscipline among school age youth regarding environmental degradation.
Students, Ms Nkrumah said, were disrespecting the environment by engaging in the indiscriminate disposal of both solid and liquid waste, open defecation, littering the environment with empty water sachets, among others.
In reversing the situation, she indicated that there was the need to engender a healthy discourse among the youth through public education.
“The NCCE will use its platform to promote a healthy discourse among the youth through public education so that they will imbibe good attitudes and behaviour on sanitation for sustainable development,” she averred.
Rubbish is asset
Ms Nkrumah said it was high time the country made good use of plastic products.
According to her, plastic waste, if properly managed in the country, could generate income.
She advocated the reuse and recycling of plastic waste into other useful products, saying, “we can get money from plastic waste if we reduce, reuse and recycle it,” she noted.
As part of contributions to support the President’s agenda of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa by 2020, she said children were a vital tool as they were change makers.
“When we begin to evoke a certain sense of responsibility in children when it comes to sanitation in communities, they can speak to parents, teachers and peers to change their mindset positively and change the practices that foster uncleanliness; they are the change makers,” she added.
She explained that once children were nurtured to be part of a community in safeguarding the environment, “they tend to reexamine their sanitation practices.”
“As soon as children begin to appreciate the steps they can take in ensuring a healthy environment, they begin to re-examine how they dispose rubbish, the role they will play when it comes to keeping our water bodies and be conscious of their surroundings,” she said.
She noted that everyone had a role to play in tackling anything that affected the environment, be it climate change or pollution, and that we could not push everything to the government.
While collaborating with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), she said her outfit had already begun talks with the Ministry of Sanitation to roll out programmes that were geared towards good sanitation practices on a wide spectrum.
“We will be going to churches, mosques and speak to traditional authorities and communities to educate them on keeping our environment clean,” she said.
She called on the government to enact policies that would create an enabling environment for easy disposal of waste.