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Brighten Your Corner, Keep Accra Clean   
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Ridding Accra of filth and the rest of the country by extension has been a preoccupation of various governments each applying an assortment of modules. However, none of the previous governments went to the extent of touting a desire of making the nation’s capital one of the cleanest on the continent as has President Akufo-Addo.

Under former President John Agyekum Kufuor the task of beautifying the nation’s capital was pushed to the front burner with the creation of a ministry to champion that cause. Projects are dependent on attitudinal changes to achieve their goals. But bringing the people along has always been challenging.

Most people especially those living in slums would continue to sit on the fence unappreciative of the importance of brightening their corners as a means of keeping diseases at bay.

When President Akufo-Addo put forth his ‘cleanest city’ desire many wondered how feasible the project would be. The hesitance of the skeptics as to the success or otherwise of the project is borne out of the general indifference of Ghanaians to matters bordering on management of filth or litter, especially in the nation’s capital.

A historical background of this conundrum would be a necessary additive to this commentary. One of the tasks of the colonial administration from its onset was the enforcement of hygiene among the inhabitants of early Accra.

The outbreak of diseases and their management by the colonial authorities compelled the Brits to unfold strict hygiene standards in response. Available archival literature indicates that it took a strict enforcement of the hygiene by-laws to rid Accra of filth and for the Europeans to live close to the residents.

The great plaque of 1908 was triggered by mice which in turn thrived under the prevailing unhygienic conditions of parts of Accra.

The introduction of sanitary inspectors as part of enforcement unit of the Accra Town Council, as it was known, was informed by the importance of keeping the city clean and bereft of filth. The inspectors were called Tankas, a bastardized form of Town Council.

Perhaps had the colonial authorities educated the locals about the importance of hygiene and therefore brought them along they would have understood the issue and contributed immensely towards its success.

Today here we are many years after the end of colonial administration still struggling to have our people appreciate the role of hygiene in our cities.

Last week on social media a man on the Tema Motorway compelled a foreigner who had thrown an empty bottle from a moving car to pick it up.

When all residents of the city begin to become conscious about the neatness of the nation’s capital, we too would join the ranks of the Kigalis and other cities whose managers and residents have embraced the ‘clean city’ agenda.

There is no reason why Accra should continue to wear the unenviable tag of ‘a city of litter.’

Sanctions should be applied on litter defaulters alongside accompanying education through religious groups, traditional setups and others.

Cleanliness should be put on an aggressive footing otherwise we shall remain a quagmire as we appear to be in our bid to give our national capital a new look.                                      

Source: Editorial/Daily Guide

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