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KEEP GHANA CLEAN PART 1:Bag Your Litters And Keep Public Transports Clean   
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Cephas Davor
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Reading about Singapore, a clean and green city-state and island country in Southeast Asia one would appreciate the fact that the development and success of this country did not happen effortlessly.

Singapore is a major commercial hub and the fourth-largest financial center in the world currently. There is one thing that fascinates me a lot when I read and hear the success stories about Singapore: The commitment of the citizenries to a national course.

Singapore achieved her success through what I would call a great commitment and revolutionary effort, led by her leaders and supported by all and sundry.

For example, Lee Kua Yew, the longest serving Prime Minister of Singapore whose demise occurred March 23, 2015 launched about 19 effective months-long campaigns during his reign to sensitize the Singaporeans about their responsibility to make Singapore the cleanest and greenest city in Asia.

One of these campaigns focused on inconsiderate littering. His message ran through the nerves of most, if not every individual in that country. The result is what every traveler to Singapore can attest to: In fact, Singapore is indeed a clean and successful country.

Is there any lesson we can learn from Lee? Yes, so much lesson. Ghana is glutted with so much filth. Our cities are enveloped with waste from different quarters. One of these is what comes from public transports.

This is the focus of this article. It is high time we as Ghanaians adopted a paradigm that would bring a complete change in our lifestyle towards waste disposal in our cities and towns. Often times, passengers on public vehicles popularly called ‘trotro,’ and Metro Mass buses drop their litters inside these vehicles.

Eventually, these piles of rubbish end up at the lorry parks in our cities. This is an act of indiscipline and a complete blindness to civilization. One could keep any litter one makes from drinking sachet or bottled water in one’s bag, pocket or just hold it in hand and drop it at the proper place or take it home.

This is not a difficult thing to do if it is made a habit. People talk about cleanliness but fail to practice it. Passengers on board buses (the VIPs, VVIPs, STCs etc.) eat or drink and leave the residue of the food or drink in the seat pockets of these buses.

It is common to see banana and orange peels, sugarcane, tiger nut chaffs, plastic bag and what have you, abandoned inside these vehicles. What is quite ironical is that most of these passengers see it as a normal practice so one dare not question their conduct.

The drivers of these vehicles say nothing about this behavior forgetting that everyone on board their vehicles has the responsibility to take care of the rubbish he /she makes.

For instance, when I was preparing this work, I asked a driver of a public transport how he would feel if a law was made to prevent passengers from littering vehicles.

Unfortunately, I was surprised at his response to this question. He told me that he would not happy about such a law because it is his mate’s responsibility to clean the vehicle.

He added that they pay money at various lorry parks so that money should be used to take care of the rubbish the passengers make. That is exactly the mind set of many: “We pay for this; we pay for that, so somebody must clean our filth”.

This is too bad an attitude for development in a country. This driver had forgotten that if there is no rubbish for his mate to clean, and to pay for he would stand to benefit in so many ways as he would be able to save time and money.

It is imperative for passengers to think carefully about the mess they leave inside the vehicles they board and be concerned about how that would affect lorry parks or bus terminals. The sight of rubbish in vehicles can be very disgusting. As it can be seen, the next point of this rubbish is our lorry parks. This is the reason most lorry parks are very dirty. The cumulative effect of this practice is the unclean cities we have in Ghana.

An unclean city affects public health and government expenditure. Government or city authorities need to spend money to get rid of the rubbish many inconsiderate individuals create in our cities and towns and to provide health facilities and personnel to care for those who get ill as result of exposure to filth.

A filthy city makes people suffer from diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery. Again, it leads to unemployment because it is unattractive to tourists and investors.

What can be done to eliminate or minimize littering in public transports? One thing Lee Kua Yew did was to create a sense of responsibility in individual Singaporeans and to encourage them to bin their rubbish.

The result was that people learned to avoid littering public places. Those who were recalcitrant in adhering to his campaigns were made to face the law.

As a country we can learn from this disciplined leader. Passengers should be made to stop littering vehicles if they would not learn to do so themselves. Drivers must be bold to ensure that no passenger leaves rubbish inside their vehicles.

In addition, they can use stickers, posters or banners to educate their passengers on keeping their vehicles clean from litters. The government and transport unions should engage in vigorous campaigns to stop this indiscriminate conduct. Media houses must also get on board in fighting this menace to our health and national economy.
Source: Cephas Davor/ Email: [email protected]/ Accra.

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