GHANA @ FIFTY-TWO AND SANITATION
“Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to wage war on filth…” was one of the headlines of ‘Ghana Today’ dated 19th February, 2009. I think that it is the undivulged dream of many other regions especially the Greater Accra Region. At age fifty- two, Ghana still faces with regret the herculean task of proper disposal of waste. This is what I have adopted and wishes to throw to your consciousness as we celebrate fifty-two years of our nation’s independence.
“Cleanliness, it is said is next to Godliness.” This dictum is applicable to every Tom, Dick and Harry of this country irrespective of one’s religious background. My focus, therefore, is on the indiscriminate disposal of waste in this country.
To deny that at age fifty-two, Ghana is still living in filth is an understatement. We are literally living in filth not knowing its consequences for our lives. Perhaps, two things readily come to mind as regards our attitude towards this unfortunate situation. First, that our nation has lost hope as regards issues of sanitation and second, that the government and the agency involve have lost the will power to enforce the laws regarding sanitation. Today, people throw waste materials indiscriminately on our streets, in our neighbourhood, gutters, to mention but few. I can envisage that within the shortest possible time, Ghanaians will suffer the consequences of their inactions.
It is said that to be fully human is to live in harmony with the environment or creation. Thus the dignity of our lives depends largely on how we live in harmony with the rest of creation. Our dignity does not lie in dressing elegantly and riding in the most expensive car while at the same time living in filth. As a nation, we must learn to add to improve the existing structures. Any nation that is always rebuilding its foundation is doomed. At fifty- two, Ghana has come a long way and it will be unfortunate that all that we have attained by way of the development of the human capacity will become useless if we do not change our attitude towards waste disposal.
I wish to congratulate ‘ Zoom Lion’ for their initiative in bringing sanity into our environment but it is unfortunate that Ghanaians have not help them enough because, we now intentionally create filth for them to clean. Again where has the former Vice President’ initiative on indiscipline brought us. Has it fallen on death ears? What about the call by the His Excellency, President Evans Atta Mills, on the need to clean the entire nation? All these initiatives will be ephemeral when attention is not given to the development of the human capacity especially in the area of education. This is because man is an agent of change; an agent of development; he is the source, the centre and the summit of development.
I think that a solution to this problem should be a lasting one. I wish to propose, therefore, that government should create scholarship opportunities for people to study about proper waste disposal especially plastic waste. I would not be tempted to say that this generation is a lost venture but I will propose also that the family which is the first source of socialization for the child should begin inculcating in the child the need for cleanliness. Teachers should also make it part of their duty everyday to educate their pupils on the proper waste disposal. Religious leaders cannot be left out of the equation.
St Thomas Aquinas once said that “To live is to change and to be holy is to have changed often. Change is the only thing that is constant. Let us change our attitude towards our environment and precisely the improper disposal of waste. We need to sacrifice to realize a clean environment. We should always remember that when we have been brought together by our insufficiencies to co-exist, occasions will be when our individual comforts and security will have to give way to the common good of the general public. Our dreams and aspirations should aim at enhancing our common vision as a community; a people who share in mutuality their most precious possessions themselves. Perhaps, we are not conscious of the kind of legacy we are living behind for posterity. We owe posterity a responsibility of making sure that our environment does not suffer from a “Nervous beak down”.
It is my fervent hope that in these fifty-two years of our nation’s independence, God will grant us the serenity of mind to accept those things that we cannot change; to change those we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
AGORSOR AARON AGBESHIE
ST. PETER’S REGIONAL SEMINARY