Sanitation in Ghana: A Disaster or a Challenge?

Ghana 3After many years of independence Ghana is one of the countries in Africa facing waste disposal, recycling and poor drainage problems.

Original article published in Huffingtonpost.com by Karen Curley

When one walks down the streets in Makola Market, you are overwhelmed by all of the trash that litters the streets. Trash and waste are everywhere. Accra is the capital of Ghana and is a modern city, yet there is garbage all over. There are many reasons for this:

Lack of Proper Sanitation Only 77.5% of homes have toilets. Only 30% have flush toilets. The average person in Accra has to share toilets with 10 or more persons in public latrines. Lack of plumbing has led to huge amounts of water being dumped on the streets.

Lack of a Working Sanitation System Waste removal is for the wealthy because they can afford it. Only 60% of the population has regular waste collection. As of June 17th, all 3 refuse dump sites were closed down. Because of this open sewers and rains are full of trash. Most of the pipes are in polluted gutters. Broken or vandalized ones are open to germs.

Lack of Public Awareness and Proper Education about Causes and Prevention of Diseases There is a lack of information to the public about how diseases spread because of germs and poor sanitation.

Most people are not aware that Accra’s trash problem is a growing cause of many of its diseases. In 2008 over 700US million dollars was spent on treating malaria in Ghana. That figure has not slowed down. Malaria is the number one health problem all over Ghana, especially in Accra.

Malaria accounted for 53% of Accra’s illnesses last year. According to the National Malaria Control Programme, “During 2009, a person in Ghana died from malaria about every 3 hours. This means about 3,000 people died of malaria in Ghana that year alone, most of them children. Cholera is another big problem in Ghana. As of November 2011, cholera has claimed 101 lives.

There have been 10,002 cases reported in Ghana. The cholera outbreak has been directly linked to a lack of proper refuse dumping sites and improper disposal of waste. Deputy Health Minister Rojo Mettle Nunoo has asked assemblies to implement their sanitation by-laws.

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When will Africa or Ghana rise above this? Ghana needs to embark on underground drainage system. 

He has stated that Accra and other larger cities face a 13% chance of a cholera epidemic. He also stated that frequent occurrences of the outbreak happen because many homes, work places, and public places do not have facilities.

So where does Accra go from here? The biggest problem facing Accra is that of mindset. Accra’s people need to adjust their mindset to the changing times. It is no longer ok to throw trash on the ground and in their gutters.

People must educate themselves on the dangers of inadequate sanitation and begin using garbage containers. Authorities from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) must implement proper sanitation planning. Without, the above Accra will continue on its course with disease and death.

The Writer

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Karen Curley is an international photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. Her pictures have been seen in many publications including Spin Magazine, US Weekly, and InStyle Magazine.

Her pictures have also been featured on the Conan O’Brien show. She has worked internationally for The Accra Mail in Ghana Africa. Her passion is urban photography. Her work with the homeless has been shown in galleries all over Los Angeles.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-curley/sanitation-in-ghana-a-dis_b_1197217.html

Green Planet: A Poem By Lori Triggs

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At one time our planet was colorful as lush with plants even flowers 

And towering trees beautiful I can see,

The planet was filled with animals even birds more species that was plentiful

While the mammals and fish filled the oceans even waters majestic,

The oceans with lakes even rivers as the waters where aqua or

Torques blue lovely green was a fantasy.

 

Now our planet is filled with tons trash on the streets even

At the garbage dumps filled to the top to no end,

The planet not colorful or lush with plants even flowers

And towering trees it becoming a waste land of dirt and mud,

Even homes plus businesses filled with humans to see

The animals even birds is getting scarce means no food or wildlife,

While the mammals and fish are finding up dead in the waters

Or land means no food or sea life.

The oceans with lakes even rivers as the waters are brown,

Or nasty green will be unsafe to drink this is not a fantasy.

 

We should help the planet even ourselves by recycling

bottles, paper, cardboard, cans even glass in recycling centers,

Make green homes by using reused materials granite, tiles, wood,

Bottles, paper, cardboard, cans even glass solar tubes, & solar energy

Plus solar water, everything energy officiant,

The cars we use should be hydrogen, solar, electric or hybrid

So go green not brown if we keep what we are doing we are all dead!

Copyrighted July 17 2008

Could Poor Drainage System Leads To Flood And Fire Disaster In Ghana?

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Gas explosion in the city of Accra: Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

Ghana is mourning once again, after the Melcom shopping mall disaster in 2012. Without warning tragedy has struck. “This loss of life is catastrophic and almost unprecedented. A lot of people have lost their lives and I am lost for word.” These are the comments of Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, while visiting the scene of the blast, following a heavy torrential rainfall in the city of Accra.

During a heavy rainfall, people taking shelter from the rain at a gas station, unexpectedly find themselves engulfed by fire, following an explosion. According to eyewitness, the the strong blazing fire burnt everyone across its path. The Red Cross and emergency services retrieved dozens of bodies from the gas station in central Accra, where the fire occurred on Wednesday night, at about 10 pm.

Waste disposal, recycling and poor drainage systems, remain a key challenge facing many African countries, including Ghana. It’s not arguably that many cities in Africa are extremely dirty with garbage-choked drains, gutters and blockage of sewage pipes. Indiscriminately disposal of wastes such as plastic and polythene plastic and uncollected waste blocked holes and gutters brewing bad odour that engulfs the environment.

Apart from malaria and other tropical diseases, poor drainage system often leads to common floods, leading to death and destruction of properties. In the past, Ghana’s capital and its surroundings have experienced heavy rain and flooding, often causing mass destruction and taking lives. The question: How can the Ghanaian government prevent such tragedies?

It is always easier said than done, but there wouldn’t be any success or failure if one doesn’t try to do something. The Ghanaian government should consider embarking on a good waste disposal and underground drainage facilities. Ghana deserves it as a great nation, years after independence.