President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s pledge to make Ghana’s capital the cleanest city in Africa may suffer the fate of previous plans if it isn’t backed by aggressive actions.
Accra shouldn’t be a dirty city, stinking at every turn, if residents have respect for their environment. But people with no hygiene standard in their homes can’t produce a clean surrounding.
This is equivalent to asking a man who is stony broke to shell out his cash. That can’t happen. Trust me, it will be much easier to ask for their kidneys than money from them.
But when it comes to securing a clean environment, we must do more than it takes. It mustn’t be business as usual, especially when sanitation programmes by past governments failed to make Accra clean.
They failed not because the plans were not brilliant, but that we employed the same failed strategies. We churned out more rhetoric and slogans than actions. We were not ready to be tough. Why not?
This explains why it’s easy to see residents in Accra throw rubbish around than you would in Liberia’s capital Monrovia.
But the president has made a commitment to make Accra the cleanest city in the continent by the end of his four-year term.
He assured Paramount Chief of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area, Oblempong Nii Kojo Ababio V in April “…we are going to bring back the glory of Jamestown and British Accra.”
President Akufo-Addo went into action with the launch of the National Sanitation Campaign, declaring “every day is sanitation day.” He also announced the formation of the National Sanitation Brigade that takes the shape of the Town Council in the early 80s.
He explained, “personnel of this outfit would conduct regular visits to all offices to ensure that there is compliance and, where it so requires, take legal action against those infringing on the laws.”
But if Accra is to get to the status of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, seen as “Africa’s cleanest city,” we need to take strong actions against open urination and defecation.
Another thing we must also consider is the issue of non-biodegradable plastics that are affecting the beauty of our cities on daily basis.
The government has to be aggressive and ruthless if it is to achieve its target by 2020 when the next election would be held.
Personnel of the Sanitation Brigade need to be dispatched to our beaches not only in the day but in the night to arrest residents in the coastal areas who defecate in the open. The Brigade must also not be generous to people who dump their solid waste in the sea.
In Rwanda, people who fall foul of the law are arrested and charged. The system is effective and regulated that those who default in fine payment are detained.
We don’t need any glamorous plan to address the indiscipline of some Ghanaians. All that matters is a plan well-executed by people who are committed to the public cause.
Making Accra, the cleanest city in Africa may be a dream, but it must be fulfilled as with all dreams. We need more actions than rhetoric and slogans.
The author, Austin Brakopowers is a Broadcast journalist at Joy99.7 and views expressed here are exclusively his and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Multimedia Group Limited or Myjoyonline.com. You can reach him via Brakomen@outlook.com
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