Where Are The Bins?
Last year, whilst the rest of West Africa was hit with the deadly virus, Ebola, Accra, the capital city of the Ghana, the gateway to Africa, was hit by a cholera outbreak. It is inexcusable that in the 21st Century, any modern city such as Accra should face such an outbreak. Lives were lost and people got sick for days and had to be away from work. And in some cases, were admitted at the hospital for days.
In response to this outbreak, the government came up with an initiative, a propaganda reaction to the problem, like everything else. On 1 November, the government declared the first Saturday of every month as a National Sanitation Day. A sanitation day? How does that solve a cholera outbreak? So apparently, on this so called National Sanitation Day, all Ghanaians must get involved in cleaning their surroundings.
Forgive me but when I was growing up, that was called doing your Saturday chores. Everyone did them. You swept the compound (usually dusty), trimmed the hedges, burnt rubbish and cleaned the gutters within your compound and outside your house. It was annoying to wake up early to do these chores but once you were up and engaged in the chores, it became fun because you would see your neighbours doing the same thing. We did not need a National Sanitation Day, which occurred every first Saturday to clean our surroundings.
Accra’s population has increased since I was a child. There are more people in Accra and therefore the rubbish generated has increased. Everyone will ignore the common places because it is not their responsibility. That is where the problem is and that is what the solution should seek to address. The government, local authority or municipal/metropolitan assembly must step up and live up to their responsibility. They need to find lasting solutions to the filth in Accra.
The National Sanitation Day is absolutely meaningless if steps are not taken on a daily basis to keep the city clean. One critical step is the provision of bins all over the city. We have, and certainly do encourage, a culture of hawking and selling by the streets. I buy water or coconut to drink and after drinking, there is no bin to dump the bottle/satchet or empty coconut. I would usually leave it in my car but the ordinary man taking taxis, will throw it in the nearest gutter. The gutter will be choked and when the rains come, the city will be flooded. And after the floods comes cholera. Cholera is bound to return if we don’t do the basic things to keep our city clean.
The rains have started again and there are still no bins. My point is really simple: we don’t need a National Sanitation Day. We need BINS around the city.