opinionBy Helena Selby
Ashaiman is a town near Tema, and can be described as a melting pot where people of different ethnic groups live together. The shanty nature and ghetto-like structures of Ashaiman relegates it to the backwaters of Accra and Tema Metropolis. It is well known for its notoriety and other forms of social vices. The Ashaiman town has been inundated with filth, due to the indiscriminate defecation and dumping of rubbish by residents.
Residents of Ashaiman are made up of almost all the tribes in Ghana, including some foreigners. The area has developed the penchant for riotous and lawless acts.
The stigma surrounding Ashaiman is such that some people find it difficult to relocate to the area, with some holding the view that it is not the right place to raise children. Ashaiman has earned itself as notorious den where hardened criminals in the city of Accra and beyond ran to hide their booty.
Aside the negative things found in the area, most residents of Ashaiman are law abiding citizens and hardworking people. The youth are survivors who believe in the adage that "each man for himself, God for as all".
Despite the fact that some of the residents try to brighten the corner where they are, a few miscreants in the town are trying very hard to give the area a bad name. The small unruly minority seem to be doing their very worst to overshadow some of the good stories that could be seen and told about Ashaiman.
The emergence of Zoomlion in Ashaiman
The best thing that happened to Ashaiman is the emergence of the Waste Management Company, "Zoomlion", who have been deeply involved in the management and disposal of waste in the area. As a result, the mountains of garbage and rubbish in the town have either been cleared or have greatly reduced "Zoomlion".
The "Zoomlion" workers make it a point to sweep the environment daily to make the area attractive and conducive for human habitation.
Despite the efforts of "Zoomlion" some recalcitrant residents still litter around and indiscriminately dispose of their refuse. "Zoomlion" workers move from house to house to collect rubbish form the various homes, who in turn pay some token at the end of the month.
They also do some education on the side about the correct disposal of rubbish, which has in a way gone a long way to reduce the habit of indiscriminate rubbish disposal.
It is a good thing that with the help of waste management companies such as "Zoomlion", the situation in Ashaiman has changed for the better. However, with the issue of indiscriminate defecation, it seems that the people have a long way to go.
The Disposal of faeces in Ashaiman is a crying shame which seem to have gone out of control.
Some residents go to the extent of defecating in polythene bags and indiscriminately throwing them about into gutters and dark alleys. The overhead bridge in Ashaiman and the nearby bushes have not been spared this obscene ordeal. Both the young and old defecate openly without any sense of shyness or shame, even by the side of the busy road. Some mothers also allow their kids to roam around some stinking refuse points whiles some hawk and sell food at such areas, enjoying good patronage from people.
Ashaiman is a town mostly considered to have no proper plan. Buildings are scattered all over and landlords and land ladies build without the provision of toilet facilities, so tenants always have no choice than to go to the nearby Kumasi Ventilation Improved Pit (KVIP), whenever they feel like answering to nature's call.
Unfortunately the number of KVIPs in Ashaiman is not enough for the population of the area. The old public toilets are the ones the people still rely on. For some of them, because the old ones are extremely old, it makes the place smell bad, hot and uncomfortable to use, making the users to sometimes feel nauseous. Even the dresses worn by users of the public toilets are not spared as they catch the bad smell as well. Due to this, they always prefer to go to the roadside or the bushes to defecate freely and enjoy fresh air.
Effects of bad Defecation disposal
As the rainy season is around, there is the possibility of the rain water craeting stagnant waters which breeds mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bring about the spread of malaria which has so far has being reported to have killed millions of people on the African continent.
Malaria has also resulted in maternal mortality. Indiscriminate defecating makes way for the rain to carry them into river bodies which might be used for domestic or industrial purpose. In this case, when the water is being used without boiling or distilling, it causes cholera.
Indiscriminate disposal of faeces also attract houseflies which result in the spreading of cholera, especially among children. According to Wikipedia website, cholera transmission to humans occurs through eating food or drinking water contaminated with cholera vibrios. The major reservoir for cholera was long assumed to be humans themselves, but considerable evidence exist that aquatic environment can serve as reservoirs of the bacteria.
A community with a bad sense of sanitation has a high possibility of its people being falling sick. For Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), poor sanitation can as well cause diarrhoea. According to them, it kills 5,000 infants and children. Access to hygienic toilets can reduce child diarrhoea death by more than 30%.
Apart from the health issues surrounding this habit of defecation, it as well drives people away from either living there or investing there. Every now and then both citizens and foreigners use the overhead bridge to the motorway, and with the habit of defecating beside the roads and bushes, it in no doubt drive investors away.
Health is a good thing people of Ashaiman should learn to put their health at heart and make use of the few existing ones to avoid putting their health at stake. It should be the responsibility of landlords and landladies to consider the wellbeing of their tenant whenever they are building houses for rent.
It will also be in the interest of the people and the nation, if the government builds public toilets for the people of Ashaiman to ease their troubles.
When the environment is well protected from all kinds of disease, it will make the people healthy and happy. This will result in protecting the labour force of the country.