Early this year, we woke up to the news of flooding in some parts of Accra. I remember some of my friends and I having discussions about the floods and how we teased some of our friends who live in flood prone areas. We cannot underestimate the severity of floods in Accra and in other parts of the country- affecting lives, livestock, communities and properties.
Some sections of the public are of the view that flooding has been with us since the 1960s (I saw a newspaper back then which read Accra hit by flood). Some people believe it is normal for flooding to occur. They make references to countries like United States of America, Europe and United Kingdom who have suffered the same fate.
People make these assertions forgetting that the high rainfalls that occur in these places is not what we experience here in Ghana. There have been discussions as to whether these floods are man-made or natural. I dare say these floods are the results of our actions and inactions, some of which I will like to share in this article.
- Sanitation issues
Sanitation is a major problem in Accra and other parts of the country. It is very disheartening. We are swamped with so much filth and it continues to endanger our lives. Sadly, we have all played a part in this. All these become evident when the rains start. Drains get choked and turns to overflow due to human activities.
These activities include dumping of refuse into drains, littering around the city and in our communities, sweeping waste into gutters among others. There’s also inadequate drainage system. All these activities have contributed to the problem we are facing today.
- Developments along water ways and flood prone areas
For many Ghanaians, the dream is to become homeowners and this has also created another problem. As the tussle for land continues, people are building in waterlog areas and water ways to fulfill their dreams. Some schools of thought have blamed local government and authorities for failing to do their work well. Some have been accused of taking bribes to grant people permit to build in flood prone areas.
Also, some assemblies have contributed to this issue by shirking their responsibility in enforcing law and order. They have contributed to this by sitting in their offices rather than going out to stop projects being constructed in developing areas.
- The issue of dredging
As a country, we know when the rains start. So it’s important for us to take proactive measures to mitigate its effects. We always wait for an incident to happen before we react and play the blame game. We delay in dredging major drains in the capital and when the rains come in, we find ourselves wanting. Also, when the dredging is done, the waste is left by the gutters or the drains. The rains come and everything goes into the drain. After some few hours of downpour, Accra is flooded and we go back to ground zero.
- Destruction and depletion of our vegetation and forest cover
People have destroyed and depleted vegetation and forest cover to make way for the construction of houses or sand winning activities. Flooding at the Kasoa Toll booth all through to “Ataala” junction can be attributed to the lack of vegetation. The heavy rains erode the soil and dumps them on roads causing floods.
Based on all these issues, the flooding situation in the country have been caused by our actions and inactions. For us to be able to bring an end to perennial floods in the country, the following measures must be taken:
- Change in attitude
Ghanaians must take a collective decision to change our attitude. We must desist from these negative attitudes that contributes to flooding. We must be responsible citizens and hold each other accountable.
- Introduction of town council
It is time for us to re-introduce town council, which was known in the 80s and 90s as “tankas”. Growing up, these sanitation task force officials visited neighborhoods and communities regularly to inspect their surroundings and sanitation. Those who were found guilty were fined. This enforced law and order. If all of us are to take responsibility of our actions and that of others, flooding in Accra will be mitigated.
- Fines and Penalties
Government must crack the whip on people who contribute to activities that result in flooding. People should be held culpable for their actions and made to face the law. Instituting fines and penalties will serve as a deterrent. In extreme cases, jail time could be metered out. Government should also go hard on municipal assemblies and district assemblies’ officials who grant permit to individuals to put up structures in flood prone areas and water ways.
Government should have a way of monitoring and tracking the activities of these officials; issuance of permits and on what basis these permits are issued, if it is in accordance with the law among others so that the necessary action can be meted out. Corruption has become the order of the day and it is critical for us to address it on all fronts.
- Public Education
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in partnership with the Ministry of Sanitation and other relevant government institutions can roll out programs to sensitize and educate people in the market areas, lorry parks, schools, churches and the communities at large. This will help people better appreciate the need for them to be responsible.
- National Housing Project
Politicians and parliamentarians must set their differences aside and take active measures to solve the housing situation in the country- a national housing project or scheme for its citizenry. Due to inadequate housing policies by successive governments, the citizenry has taken it upon themselves to acquire their lands and build on their own. This will be one of the major solutions to the flood situation in our country if there is a national policy on housing. If Ghanaians are assured of a reliable and affordable housing project, people will desist from buying lands in flood prone ways and building in water ways.
- More support and commitment to Green Ghana Day
As individuals and organizations, we must continue to support government efforts to preserve our forest cover and vegetation. Our actions and inactions have resulted in the perennial flooding problem in the country. We have a collective responsibility to take proactive measures to resolve this issue and protect life and property
>>>the writer works with one of the leading universal banks in Ghana as a Zonal SME Officer with 8+ years’ experience in Relationship Management, SME Lending, Equipment Financing, Corporate Financing & Contract Financing. Jesreal is passionate about development, economic and social issues on the African continent. He holds a BSc. Mathematics & MSc. Development Finance from University of Cape Coast and University of Ghana respectively. Connect with Jesreal via LinkedIn; Jesreal Dsane Twitter; Instagram; Email; [email protected]