Some principal streets in Accra have been taken over by filth shortly after the three-day Christmas holidays, the Ghana News Agency observed during a tour of some streets of the capital on Tuesday.
However, the sanitation situation was better on some streets around the Ministries, Independence Square, areas near the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Holy spirit Cathedral, and Osu Oxford Street.
Though measures have been put in place to ensure proper sanitation in the city during the festive season in line with the Government’s vision of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa, filth continues to remain a challenge in the capital.
Madam Akosua Oteng, a street vendor around the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, attributed the garbage heaps on the streets to pedestrians, who litter indiscriminately and evening traders who dump their garbage during the night.
“Those who dump here are often passers-by and some traders. When you confront them, they tell you that Zoomlion will come and sweep,” she said.
She further stated how the various Assemblies had refused to do their jobs hence causing the practice to be perpetuated with impunity. She said this was a bad attitude that needed to change.
Adwoa Amankwa Boadi, a food vendor at the Kaneshie market, attributed the delay in emptying rubbish bins at the market as one of the causes for poor sanitation and the habit of littering, which she said had increased during the festive season.
Madam Boadi was more concerned with the choked underground drains that had not been desilted for a long time, which she said could end causing flooding and disease outbreak with the slightest rain.
“The pile of rubbish since we hit December has increased because a lot of people have flocked to town to trade and shop. Though rubbish bins have been provided, they are usually not emptied on time so there is always a spillage which end up in the underground drain which is already choked. What I am afraid now is flooding when it rains and a cholera outbreak”, She said.
Evans Boakye, a coconut seller at the Tema Station, was not surprised at the level of filth that had engulfed the surroundings, as according to him, this had always been the trend and increases during the yuletide.
For him, the solution to the problem is for traders, passengers, and drivers to cease the habit of littering and for the Assemblies to enforce the byelaws on sanitation.
Festus, a driver nearby, agreed with him that an attitude change was a prerequisite for cleanliness but, more stringent actions such as the arrest and prosecution of sanitation offenders needed to be applied.
Poor sanitation, according to a 2012 desk study carried out by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and published by the World Bank costs Ghana more than US$290 million each year, an equivalent of US$12 per person in Ghana per year or 1.6 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In 2017, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo pledged to make Accra the neatest and best city in Africa by the end of his first term of office.
However, for more than two years into his second administration, the issue of Sanitation continues to remain a challenge in the country, particularly in Cosmopolitan areas such as Accra, Kumasi among other urban areas with huge populations.