One of the major problems confronting Ghana today, is sanitation. Our lorry parks, streets, highways, and even homes, are littered with all kinds of garbage. It has become our attitude to litter public places with the wrong notion that the cities' metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies would come and sweep the mess we have created.
People also urinate and deface at the wrong places, especially, in our big towns and cities, with careless abandon. Storm drains are constructed for the purpose of carrying away flood or waste water from our homes, but some of them have been turned into places of convenience. At Madina, a suburb of Accra for instance, pillars of the newly-constructed footbridge at Zongo Junction have been turned into a urinal, and the pong that emanates from the place is simply unbearable to motorists and pedestrians, but the practice is still going on.
Also, a storm drain that carries water from Abeka through Tesano - all suburbs of Accra - to join the Odaw River, which lies in the heart of Accra, has become a place of convenience for taxi drivers, the youth, and sometimes, those who live in and around these areas. Any patriotic citizen who dares challenge them over this shameful conduct is abused with all kinds of unprintable words. The even more challenging situation now, is the dumping of waste on the outside of the fence walls of people's homes by the riders of tricycles during odd hours.
The use of s to collect garbage, and also cart goods, was introduced into the country as part of the poverty eradication programme. Indeed, its usage has helped to create jobs for some of the jobless youth, but some of them using the machine to support the sanitation drive in our towns and cities are rather worsening the very problem they claim to be fighting.
Some of these tricycle operators visit homes to secure contracts to collect garbage for proper disposal, but instead of riding to the properly designated dumping sites, they empty the waste at any available place, usually during odd hours. As a result of this, our sanitation situation keeps on deteriorating, despite all the interventions by the government. It is in the light of this that The Chronicle commends the Kumasi Metropolitan (KMA) Assembly for arresting four tricycle riders, prosecuting, and getting them jailed for a month for indiscriminately dumping refuse at unauthorised places in the Garden City.
Apart from serving their sentences in police custody, instead of the prisons where they could have their comfort, the convicts are also going to do community service by clearing and cleaning the city, under the supervision of Environmental Health Inspectors.
Clearly, the decision to arrest and the subsequent jailing by the court is enough signal to these tricycle riders to stop their behaviour of dumping their waste behind people's homes and public places. These kinds of attitudes, coupled with the indiscriminate defecation and urination, all contribute to the outbreak of cholera and other communicable diseases in the country, which sometimes lead to the loss of lives.
Most of the people who are guilty of these offences know about this bare fact, but, so long as their conducts would inure to their economic benefits, they don't care about the outcomes. In our view, the only way to whip people, who have this kind of mentality, into line, is arrest, prosecution and jailing.
Surely, these tricycle operators in Kumasi, after hearing of the conviction and sentencing of their colleagues, would think twice before making any attempt to dump refuse at unauthorised places.
The KMA has set the good example, and it is the hope of The Chronicle that other assemblies would follow their footsteps to rid Ghana off filth.