When are we going to wake up?


It seems all of us in Ghana are under a certain slumber. We wake up, dress up nicely and go to sit in offices thinking we’ve made it. But from our houses to our offices and back, we pass through neighborhoods, over roads and gutters that are spilling over with rubbish. In a country with no functioning sanitation system, it’s amazing how we’ve all managed to not see the eyesore. Sure, we know how things are but do we really see the filth? Does it bother us? Do we know how we are killing ourselves? Do we demand that something actually be done about the state of waste in Ghana? Some may say Zoomlion will take care of it but Zoomlion is a company and not the government of Ghana. Zoomlion does what it is told to do depending on the municipality. And from the look of things that’s not very much.

Since my last post I’ve participated in BarCamp Kumasi, TEDxAccra and BarCamp Sunyani. At these gatherings Ive met some very intriguing youngsters with bubbling ideas and a zeal to make Ghana better. At TEDxAccra I made a 6-minute presentation entitled ‘What is your waste worth.’ It highlighted many of the waste-to-energy and waste-to-cash initiatives Ghana could benefit from greatly. It was greatly applauded and even received accolade from the Mayor of Accra. Many had questions about how such systems work and wished to see such things around but is this even on the agenda of the nation? At the BarCamps there were always break-out sessions concerning keeping the concerned environs clean. In Kumasi we tweeted with the hashtag #KeepKNUSTclean and in Sunyani we used #KeepSunyaniClean. Everyone wanted to start something that would prevent them from eventually swimming in rivers of litter and plastics and mess. But how can u tackle such a huge problem when there are no systems and infrastructure in place?

Its obvious that this problem is growing into a monster but it became crystal clear when last month the World Bank released a report from its Water and Sanitation Programme (WBSP) stating that Ghana’s economy loses 90 million dollars annually (GHC420 million) due to poor sanitation. We are sinking ourselves ignoring this! According to the Ghana News Agency there is “the annual premature deaths of 19,000 Ghanaians from diarrheal diseases, including 5,100 children, under the age of five, nearly 90 per cent of which is directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.” An apparently the government has been granted money over the years to tackle issues of “environmental health, sanitation drainage, vehicular access and solid waste management in a sustainable fashion, with special emphasis on the poor” but fails to see projects through. According to a report last year from the daily graphic, roughly 38% of the funds amounting to approximately $1.4 billion approved by the World Bank to Ghana between April 2004 and March 2011 for the implementation of development projects was actually used. And because of this much of the money will be taken away due to missed deadlines for withdrawal/implementation. So people can’t get away with the excuse that there is no money unless they can explain what miraculous reason they have for not using what was freely given to them to help the people that voted them into power in the first place.

I’m not out to target any specific political party because from the timeline of the reports both are at fault. My question just really is…. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO WAKE UP?!!!

Many fear the breakout of a war and are calling for peace in this election but the war has already been waging. Look at the lives we lose every year. These are the kind of issues that should be at the forefront of election debates. Not useless squabbles like kindergarten children.


About The Green Ghanaian Intiative

Akua Akyaa Nkrumah is a Ghanaian environmental technologist based in Accra, Ghana. She studied Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland - College Park. She currently works as a consultant for environment and climate change in Accra and has a passion for water, sanitation, recycling and renewable energy
This entry was posted in Environment, Ghana, Policy, Sanitation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to When are we going to wake up?

  1. amoud1 says:

    so true and yet it is such a saad reality,
    we also facing similar problems in Kenya, I wonder when we going to wake up?
    just our normal annual rains are causing such a disaster within towns in the country and further indicates how greatly we are lacking in good drainage and proper sanitations!
    I am totally behind you in this drive towards better sanitation for your country and all the developing countries at large.


  2. amoud1 says:

    I totally feel you
    This is such a sad and sorry state, we currently experiencing the same issues in my home country Kenya and I wonder as well, when are we going to wake up?
    Funds are set aside yet nothing substantial is seen, just temporary solutions and come the annual rains and towns are in haywire over simple issues such as sanitation, drainage systems among others 😦
    Am totally with you in this drive of working towards better sanitation among other issues in Ghana and all the rest of the developing countries as well!


    • There is a serious lack of commitment from our governments to do the right thing. Its a tough job but the people must be served because we vote them into power and we pay taxes… they must be held accountable.


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