Those Who Litter The Streets Must Be Made To Clean Up

Rwanda, which was at war in 1990s where over 800,000 of its citizens were slaughtered, has today become the number one tourist destination in Africa. This feat has been achieved, not because tourists are happy with the ethnic cleansing that occurred in the Southern African country, especially in 1994.

Tourists are rather happy with the way the country quickly organised herself after the war to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. What is even attracting attention is the cleanliness of the entire country.

Any visitor to Kigali, the capital, will attest to the fact that its environs are clean because the residents do not litter the streets.  They know the consequences that would follow their actions should they indulge in that.

Unfortunately, the same story cannot be told in Ghana, even though we tout ourselves as the first country in the sub-Saharan Africa to have gained independence from colonial rule.

We are being swallowed by garbage in most of our towns and cities, because Ghanaians and some of the foreigners who have joined us litter indiscriminately.  People eat in cars and vehicles and throw away the rubbish through the windows without thinking about the effect on the environment.

It is, therefore, not surprising that any time it rains, even slightly, our cities, especially Accra and Kumasi, are flooded, with the attendant loss of precious human lives.

Though the radio stations and newspapers are replete with news about the real cause of these floods, which is irresponsible disposal of waste, we seem, as citizens, to have learnt nothing from them.  We always have this wrong notion that it is the responsibility of someone, specifically the district, municipal and metropolitan authorities, to clear the mess we have caused on our streets. Meanwhile, the Ghanaian who is wrecking this havoc on his or her own country would not dare exhibit the same conduct should he or she get the opportunity to travel to countries where they are strict on the littering of their streets.

Perhaps we are not winning the war against this albatross hanging on our necks because we are not properly enforcing our sanitation laws. All the local authorities that we have in this country have by-laws that deal with sanitation and indiscriminate littering of our streets, but they are not enforcing them, so the people see it as being normal to throw away plastics and food containers on our streets.

The Chronicle is, therefore, happy with the action taken by a police officer in Kumasi, who forced a neatly dressed lady to pick empty sachets thrown onto the streets.

According to a video that has gone viral on social media, the lady, who was on a trotro (mini bus) to the Kejetia bus terminal, threw an empty water sachet onto the street.

Unhappy with the action of the lady, the police officer chased the vehicle, stopped it, and ordered the lady to get down.  When she obeyed his instruction, she was ordered by the officer to pick all the empty sachets on the busy street.

To us at The Chronicle, the action of the police officer sounds better than arresting the lady and putting her before court. If you call yourself a decent lady, and yet, you are seen picking up rubbish on the streets as a form of punishment, you will think twice next time before littering the streets.

Those using the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina-Adenta road will confirm that it is now clean because of great work being done on it by hired prisoners. We can replicate this on all our major streets for the world to see our cleanliness, as Rwanda is enjoying now. We can achieve this if we make conscious efforts to do so.