More effort needed to clean Accra - Dr Manteaw
The government’s vision to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa remains only a mirage, Dr Bob Offei Manteaw, a Research Fellow, Center for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, University of Ghana has observed. He said the current efforti Ms being made to achieve that goal were not enough to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
Dr Manteaw in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, urged the City Authorities and those leading the Clean Accra campaign to focus on working hard to make the city clean rather than engaging in lame and outlandish proclamations of a clean Accra. “Accra remains dirty and that is the simple truth. If Accra is clean no one needs to say or try so hard to convince anybody. Cleanliness speaks and will speak for itself,” he said.
Dr Manteaw who is also the Africa Regional Lead of Foresight Planners Africa expressed frustrations about current efforts and the unconvincing explanations given by those responsible for the leadership of the campaign. He remains unconvinced about the possibility of Accra ever becoming the cleanest city in Africa. Dr Manteaw is optimistic however that when the right things are done and in a holistic manner, the current state of Accra could be transformed to acceptable levels.
“No one should be talking about a Clean Accra when drains remain choked, when we still see litter on streets, uncollected heaps of garbage at different parts of the city and unsightly posters and bill boards all over the place. “Open defecation has not stopped and human behaviours and attitudes towards cleanliness does not seem to improve”.
According to Dr Manteaw, the city authorities and those leading the clean Accra campaign were using the word ‘clean’ vaguely and that nobody has come out to tell us what clean entails or should entail, adding that, in reality a clean Accra should mean more than sweeping the ceremonial streets of Accra. “This is not me being too pessimistic or negative, but it is clear that there is so much disorganisation around the issue of a clean Accra and how to make it happen. This is mainly because of the lack of proper planning and effective coordination among the different stakeholders,” he added.
He said the main challenges facing waste and sanitation management in Ghana come in three parts namely, infrastructure, governance and social behaviours and attitudes. The Research Fellow said, for Accra to be clean it was critically important that government agencies work closely with the private sector and other stakeholders to address the interconnected challenges in a well-coordinated way. He emphasized the need for sufficient waste bins and other waste receptacles for all households and in all communities. Dr Manteaw was emphatic that: “the availability of waste bins in all homes, offices, streets and communities will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges and this should be supported through a stronger and stringent regulatory mechanisms.
“This is why I do not only support Zoomlion’s call for One million Waste Bins but rather calls for Five million Bins. One million bins will not even be enough for the entire Accra, the minimum we need if we are serious is five million bins just for a start.
“Availability of bins in homes, streets, communities and complemented by other communal waste receptacles are critically important to this clean Accra campaign and it is important that more of these bins are made available”. He added that, ”I will believe Accra is clean when I see fully functional and clean waste bins in every home and at reasonable distances in communities, offices and streets.
“I will believe it when every house or community has a decent toilet and a bathing facility. At that point I will not need the Chief Executive Officer of Accra Metropolitan Authority or the Sanitation Minister to try so hard to convince me that Accra is clean”.