The development of Ghana is a shared responsibility between the seat of government and the citizenry. Yes, it is the responsibility of government to make sure that roads are fixed. Yes, it is the responsibility of government to ensure that building structures are not raised along water courses. Yes, it is the responsibility of government to ensure that durable drainage systems are built to carry away water and other filth into their required destination. Yes, it is the responsibility of government that all basic amenities are properly fixed. Notwithstanding, we as a people should also know that our ugly attitudes will always expose us to dangerous situations.
We cannot continuously choke our gutters with rubbish and expect to live in a healthy environment. We cannot continuously litter our environment with filth and expect to stay healthy. We cannot always solely blame government for all our woes, forgetting that we as citizens form part of this same government!
As a matter of fact, we cannot openly defaecate in our water-bodies and expect to have clean drinking water! We cannot stand along the roadside, enthusiastically zip down and spray our immediate environment with urine and expect to smell freshness!
We cannot build houses without washrooms and toilet facilities and expect the menace of open defaecation to simply vanish! In most of our densely populated communities, for example, you would be shocked to know that this practice of building houses without toilet facilities is the norm. As a result, most people there lead a reckless life by packaging their ‘abominable’ into polybags and dropping them at unacceptable corners.
From all these, can one say our problem is spiritual rather than mental? In this day and age, must it always take government agencies to enforce the rule that we must have simple toilets in our own homes to benefit our own selves? How strange!!! While it is necessary for the institution responsible for granting building permits to be held accountable in certain instances, why are we as a people so difficult to deal with in matters of laws and regulations?
Our environment is extremely dirty. Most of our market areas are eyesores. Houseflies are all over the place doing what they know best, spreading diseases and killing many prematurely. Indeed, I get overly worried when I see flies ‘dancing’ on meat meant for human consumption. Our sense of decency and thinking is not well-connected to even cover them or practise proper hygiene. People sell foodstuffs close to refuse dumps – and any attempt to relocate them makes you a bad leader.
On the basis of the above, I say our problem is nowhere spiritual but mental. We cannot sit aloof and always praise the likes of Singapore, Switzerland, Malaysia and other well-developed countries for their cleanliness while we look on unconcerned at the development of our own country, Ghana. We can also rethink to make Ghana better!
We cannot sit in commercial vehicles and drop polybags and paper on the streets and expect to be like those countries we keep praising. We have to change for the better!! If adults change, the younger ones will learn from them too. However, if both the young and old are in the same soup of dirt, the repercussions are astronomically dangerous…as we always see during rainy seasons.
I am of the opinion that the government must enact stronger laws in dealing with reckless people who care less about environmental issues. The Environmental Protection Agency must step up their game in causing this revolution of cleanliness and orderliness that we all want to see as a country.
Let’s all change our attitudes and make our environments clean. We can do this if we care to listen, if better roads and drainage systems are ensured, nice market centres built, and good schools constructed as well – but if our bad attitude of polluting the environment is not fixed, progress cannot be achieved in any way!!!
The country called Ghana belongs to Ghanaians. We must therefore be proud to own and make it better.
A word to the wise…
The writer is an Academic, Visiting Lecturer, Leadership Development Coach and a Reverend Minister with the WordSprings City Church, Kumasi-Ghana
Email: [email protected]