The Ghana I was raised in as a lad was a haven of tight sanitation systems. Back then, ‘tankas’ (sanitary inspectors with the Town Council) enforced discipline, making the citizenry love cleanliness. I dare say my neighbourhood’s Papa Tankas (Maclean) was feared more than the chief and assemblyman. The mere mention of “Maclean nba-e” in the Ga language, to wit “Maclean is coming” made refuse disappear within seconds.
Maclean made it a habit to inspect gutters and bathrooms in every household (Tema new town people can relate). That was how thorough and determined the council was at eradicating filth. I’m told a similar strictness happened in every city and village back in the day.
For The Record
• Ghana is among the world’s 7th worst performing countries in sanitation.
• In the whole Africa, Ghana ranked 2nd in open defecation (shitting outside).
• It’s embarrassing how certain areas in Ghana get flooded whenever it rains.
• Cholera outbreak, malaria, typhoid, fever, and other communicable diseases are still plaguing us in the 21st century.
• Communal labour has been relegated to the background. Meanwhile waste management is contracted to Zoomlion at the expense of the tax payer.
How We Got Here
You and I are the reason our global shiny example as Africa’s beacon of hope got dented with poor sanitation.
It’s heart-breaking how:
• Garbage is left on the ground, and in gutters everywhere.
• Neighbourhoods are littered with plastic bags and no one seems to care.
• Only 15% of Ghanaians homes have toilet facilities. The 75% juggle between public toilet and openly defecating at the beach, uncompleted buildings and in bushes.
• Both men and women can comfortably urinate by the street, on walls, in gutters and openly.
• Stench from refuse and other sources has taken over our surroundings, at every turn.
• Our beaches meant for relaxation, swimming, and tourism has been taken over by filth. The sand, banks and water has been taken over by filth.
• We as a nation create waste 30 days in a month and using only one day to clear the waste. Very funny.
Recommendations On The Sanitation Matter
You and I have a lot of work to do in redeeming Ghana’s sanitation image. We have to cut back on the disease outbreaks, smelly environment and the general discomfort. Sanitation is a shared responsibility, needing action from both government and citizens.
- Instead of first Saturday of the month marked as National Sanitation Day, let’s have it every Saturday. it can be heavily supervised by the military.
- Engineers and scientists should refine human, solid and liquid waste on a large scale to serve society. This can sit under government’s One-District One, Factory initiative.
- We need to roll out toilet at half price project nationwide.
- We need our communal labour again.
- Bring back sanitary inspectors (tankas).
- Let’s have a robust waste collection system. Waste bins should be available and replaced immediately they get full.
We must all play a part; after all, we contribute to the generation of waste both solid and liquid. It’s about time our Mother Ghana became a clean and healthy nation. Join us in this fight. Sesa Wo Suban (change your bad habit).
Matt 23:27. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward. But are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
3rd Book of the Pentateuch (5 books of Moses) Chapter 14:8. “And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair; and wash himself in water, that he may be clean…”
About National Sanitation Campaign
Ghana’s sanitation challenges continue to worsen over the years. There is therefore the need to develop and execute a comprehensive and aggressive strategy to address the situation.
The sensitization campaign seeks to rig our beloved nation of filth and poor sanitation practices. The education of the masses and the cleaning of our environment are the two main objectives of this campaign.