Businesses strive to be “built to last”, cities spend time and energy to become modernised but Accra it appears was built to be dirty and Kofi Bentil of IMANI Ghana aptly described it as “our city is designed to be dirty.”
We have an annual banter with cholera and that alone speaks volumes. We keep talking but it appears physically not much is done. I sometimes wonder if we are aware that even if one lives in an ivory tower that in your opinion is far removed from the “dangers of the filth” we are still at risk of diseases?
We live as if this is the very last generation here in Ghana. Maybe majority of people have information on the rapture that is hidden from me.
Why will someone take garbage from his home and dump it in a gutter? Is it because the gutter is open as Mr. Bentil suggested or the culprit is not aware of a better option? Maybe it’s because there is no direct and immediate punishment.
We defaecate into our rivers and turn them into liquid waste depots. I shudder to think of what will become of us in a decade if we do not put a stop to this. We pollute everything without a care, water, air just name it; we are a disaster in waiting.
We are all culprits and we need to play a role to change our path. No analysis of poor sanitation worldwide has been completed in the past decade without the name Ghana coming up. When you look on unconcerned when people throw garbage around indiscriminately you also stand accused.
Have you visited Agbobloshie market recently? I stopped going that way over five years ago. There is a section of that market that has made headlines worldwide when pollution is discussed.
If we decide today to keep our city and country clean, we will rid ourselves of many diseases now and in the future, reduce premature and senseless deaths, save a lot of money and build a healthy and wealthy nation. Our challenges with lifestyle diseases is a matter for discussion another day.
In my opinion the underlying factor of the majority of our woes including engulfing our nation in filth is a “LACK OF PRIDE FOR COUNTRY.” We treat our country with contempt and feel it’s of no use. Why will a Ghanaian visiting Accra from a foreign country throw banana peels out of a moving car when this same person will do nothing of the sort wherever he or she may call home now? It goes well beyond a lack of punitive measures. We are simply not proud of our country. Have you heard knowledgeable Ghanaians “proudly” say “there is nothing about Ghana to be proud of”?
Mr. Bentil raises some interesting points “When you design open drains, when you don’t clear bushes, when you don’t provide dustbins, when you don’t provide places of convenience for people in transit, and when the main river running through the city is surrounded almost by design by markets and slums in which they push this rubbish…” “…when you have a walking distance from the office of the Metropolitan Chief Executive, sludge being poured raw into the sea, when you have a treatment plant that has not worked and nobody cares, when you collect taxes, misuse, steal and waste on there is no consequence on the head, you have designed a failure!” –
Yes, all these make it easier for people who are not proud of their country to take the easier option. If our leaders were proud of our capital city and country we will have majority of our drains covered, we will not allow people to live close to waterbodies, dustbins will be readily available and places of convenience will no longer be a luxury. The citizens will also use these appropriately or even find ways to add to them.
As we work hard to make Accra and Ghana clean, let us remember we have to be proud of our country to move it forward. There is a lot to be proud of Ghana and together we can make it better. We have to instil pride of country in our children and even adults.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/ St Andrews Clinic
*Dr Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week –“If you have trouble managing your time, exercising is your best remedy. A fit person has more energy and is more attentive so you can do MORE in LESS time.”
Join me and the La-Palm Healthy Lifestyle Team on Saturday 25th March 2017 and the last Saturday of every month at 6am prompt to exercise and share ideas on staying healthy.