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Opinions Mon, 2 Dec 2019

The bushy roads in the city of Accra: Who is sleeping on the job?

Naturally, is the Ghanaian a lazy person in consonance with McGregor’s Theory Y to the extent that he cannot weed his surroundings? Or is the Ghanaian naturally a dirty person? Is the Ghanaian a bush-loving person? Or is the Ghanaian full of Kitty Genovese Syndrome? These rhetorical questions depict my confusion regarding the extent to which we neglect our surroundings to become bushy and dirty and why we do so. Most of our roads are currently very bushy even within the city of Accra we aim to make the cleanest in Africa. This picture was taken yesterday around the Shangri-La Hotel area.

The bushy situation is the same from Shiashie towards Spanner Junction and Shiashie to Okponglo. Accra-Tema Motorway is even a mini forest and from TT Brothers area towards Dawhenya as well as the independence square area are also bushy. Bush here, bush there right in the city of Accra.

The impact that the physical environment has on human health and comfort is not disputatious. Human beings depend on the environment for survival and the environment reacts based on how human beings treat it. Naturally, man is not a plastic object on whom the environment works its will. Man is an active factor in change within the environment. As such, our surroundings must not be left to be bushy. Elsewhere, beautiful flowers are planted in the portions of the road where we have weeds growing. If we cannot plant and prune flowers, then we should concrete those places.

It has been established beyond doubts that bushy surroundings tend to attract and serve as habitats for reptiles, rodents and other poisonous creatures that can be harmful to human health. It is in this regard that we must brighten the corner where we are so that we will not be harmed unnecessarily within the environment.

In the light of this, I find it alarming that most of the major roads in the city of Accra are not only dirty but also very bushy. The middle of most major roads in Accra can be best described as pasturelands or mini-forests. Not only are the grasses very bushy but shrubs or trees planted in the middle of the roads are equally overgrown and no one prunes them.

It is shameful that a passenger or visitor in an aircraft arriving in Ghana sees how bushy and dirty the city is before the plane lands and the aerial view informs his or her impression about Accra. The same way air passengers see how dirty Accra is whenever the flights take off from the airport towards the coastline.

It is so pitiful that most of the major roads in the city of Accra are very bushy thereby making the city lose its aesthetic value. I am at sea as to whose duty it is to ensure that the city is not bushy let alone our roads. Is it the Accra Metropolitan Assembly or the Ministry of Environment or the Road Safety Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency or Forestry Commission since the middle of the roads can as well pass for a forest? Into what dangers are we leading ourselves? We only talk and insult one another daily on the airwaves but neglect basic things upon which our survival depends.

In my considered opinion, the private companies that place billboards in the middle of the roads can also pursue the ethical and philanthropic dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and cause the middle of the roads to be weeded. A company operates not in a vacuum but in society to primarily maximise profits for its owners but owes certain obligations towards society. Societal problems can also affect a company since companies are equally members of society. If anything at all, a company can attempt to internalize its negative externalities to minimize the possible legal disciplinary actions. I am not by this saying that the bushy roads are the doings of any private company. It is sad and shameful however, that a company like Lexta Ghana Ltd, producers of Yazz have not seen anything wrong with mounting billboards in the middle of a bushy road. If indeed they pay for the advertisements, then who collects the charges from the advertising companies and what else is the collected revenue used for that we cannot use it to clear the weedy roads.

What beats my imagination is that I am talking about the same Accra that political leadership envisages that it will be the cleanest city in Africa. So our political leaders, how market? Perhaps the more disgraceful aspect of the situation is this. Ghana is more developed than most of the other countries in the sub-region yet a visit to some of those countries show clearly that their capital cities are neither dirty nor bushy like ours.

At least successive governments had put in place certain youth employment programmes such as NYEP, YES, NaBCo and what have you. Couldn’t we have devoted some resources to equally keep our roads clean? Instead of leaving the needy on our streets to be begging, why can’t we design an employment programme for most of these people on the streets to weed the middle of the roads to keep our surroundings clean so we pay them something handsome. We need to be more serious than we are now.

Asante Sana ~

Email: afetikorto@yahoo.com

Columnist: Philip Afeti Korto