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Use 60th anniversary to address sanitation challenges-NGO appeal to the president



A TAMALE-based Non-Governmental Organisation, the Centre for Sustainable Local Development (CSLD) has proposed that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Ghana@60 Planning Committee use the 60th Anniversary and the enormous goodwill the government is currently enjoying to address the sanitation challenges confronting the country.

The NGO is also proposing that the theme for the 60th Anniversary be carved around sanitation-“A clean Ghana: a healthy and prosperous nation” to stimulate public interest and support for a clean Ghana. This move, according to the organization would lead to real change and transformation that would be felt in every home and every community across Ghana. Ghana is now among the 10th dirtiest countries in the world and 2nd in Africa.

Addressing a Press Conference in Tamale, the Executive Director of the Centre for Sustainable Local Development, Mr. Alex Bokuma said that it was extremely embarrassing for our leaders to preside over Ghana as the 10 most filthiest country in the world, a situation he said could drive away many international investors.

He said even though the President had created a Ministry of Sanitation and certainly would have their own vision for the Ministry, he was confident that his proposal would definitely add value if the Planning Committee would consider them seriously.

According to Mr. Bokuma, the NPP government was enjoying tremendous amount of goodwill from Ghanaians who were ready to embrace and practicalize the clarion call by the President to be active citizens and not spectators and contribute to the efforts to transform Ghana.

Mr. Bokuma suggested this in an interview and added that the Ghana@60 Committee could set aside six (6) months or one year for the celebration, draw a road-map which would spell out all the activities with clear timelines, followed by measures for enforcement and sanctioning of deviant citizens.

“The second activity will be the normal Independence Day parade. During the parade, the President then appeals to people’s conscience and whip up their patriotism drawing on Ghana’s disgraceful accolade as among the 10 filthiest countries in the world and the havoc that filth and chocked gutters have caused us as a nation.

The President together with Ministers of Sanitation and Local Government and Rural Development, outlines the road-map and then calls on all community leaders, chiefs, churches and mosques to be active citizens in the fight against filth. In essence, what I am suggesting is that, the main celebration is going to be the normal one day Independence Day parade. After that, the rest of the period is for implementing the roadmap”.

Proposed Strategies

Mr. Alex Bokuma proposed that as part of the implementation of the suggested roadmap, the government can sanction all commercial vehicles to have litter bins in them. When the vehicle gets to the station, the driver’s mate empties it. This means there should be bigger bins strategically located at the various terminals or bus stops. If litter bins in the trotro or buses and the passengers are aware of them, they will not throw garbage out through the window.

“Secondly, it is not possible to get all others operating kiosks, containers and food joints by the streets and generate waste to provide plastic bins? If those people are made to be responsible for the space where they do business, will they stand by and watch people litter and wake away? In providing further example, Mr. Bokuma insisted that as part of the roadmap, the government could prevail on all landlords in metropolitan, Municipal and district capitals who own compound houses to provide a functional toilet within five months.

Where a Landlord can’t afford, the tenants should contribute to the cost and their rent extended accordingly. At the end of each timeline, there should be a Ghana at 60 sanitation task force to enforce these measures.

According to Alex Bokuma, “another painful experience was to see Zoom lion staff cleaning while people are littering right in front or behind them and I will call for an anti –littering task force within Zoom lion.

He charged the government not to be discouraged by the financial challenges his proposal would pose, especially in providing logistics and other services, but rather look at the long term benefits it would bring to the nation and the people.

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