Accra: Ghana’s Stinking City

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Despite a dedicated ministry and annual budget for waste disposal, Accra, acclaimed centre of civilization, is now a muddle of garbage contrary to President Akufo-Addo’s dream of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa when he addressed Parliament in 2018.

In Accra today, from Amasaman to Nkrumah Circle to Makola, to Agbogbloshie, to Kaneshie to, to Lapaz to Achimota to Kasoa, Odorkor to Malam, Newtown to Nima, Mamobi, Korlebu to Mamprobi, Tema Station to Nungua, Ridge to East Legon, you are confronted by the sight of stinking drainages or heaps of filth.

No space is spared. Filth from there to here, and from here to there. In many places of Ghana’s capital, drainages and roads are choked or littered with rubbish, such that leaves one in a state of shock; shock at the level of filth and at how traders and residents of Accra seem to be at peace with a mass of dirt around them.

Dirt, dirt everywhere 

An Internet search of Greater Accra Region has the smallest area of Ghana‘s 16 administrative regions, occupying a total land surface of 3,245 square kilometers. This is 1.4 per cent of the total land area of Ghana. It is the second most populated region, after the Ashanti Region, with a population of 4,010,054 in 2010, accounting for 16.3 per cent of Ghana’s total population.

The Greater Accra region is the most urbanized region in the country with 87.4% of its total population living in urban centers: “Long-standing Katamanto Market is its own market, separate and distinct from Makola and houses more than 3,000 traders. Katamanto offers secondhand clothing and fabrics, while street-food stalls sell tomatoes, pepper, and plantains. The landmark Train Station is without any memories

What is so revealing here is the poor sanitary condition of the area. For instance, just behind the walls of the Country’s Train Headquarters, adjacent Greater Accra Regional Police Command, part of the fence has become, for some, a dumpsite.

Walking from there to Rawlings Park through to Tudu, one would notice the poor sanitary condition.  Piles of bagged rubbish littered the road in front of Fire Service Station to Zenith Bankon the Kojo Ashong Street. The drainage at UTC Streets, are heavy with waste despite being covered with slabs. Proceeding towards Timber Market, the drainage is no longer visible.

On New town Road, the drainage is full of stagnant water and thrash. There was no sign of the water subsiding. The roads in Adabraka, Circle and Kaneshie was the same situation, stagnant water, in what was supposed to be free-flowing drainage.

East Legon, a suburb for the affluent is no different: apart of the roads, the gutters that is supposed to be water channel linking the main gutter around Golf House looks empty while the road is flooded anytime it rains.

Alajo, Achimota, Lapaz, Odorkor, Apenkwa, Dome-Kwabenya, Nii Boye Town are just a few of the areas with trash burdened drainages. The canal between Achimota and Circle, is an eyesore, same as the one between Kotobabi and Alajo. At Agbogbloshie Market area and all

the way to Abbosey Okai, where a waste container belonging to a waste management agency in the capital, was full and awaiting evacuation.

Open defecation, indiscriminate dumpsites.

 

In Ashaiman, a canal close to a tunnel joining Klagon to Ashaiman serves as a waste dump for some residents of the area.  One Love, a sign writer, told The Hawk News that “most of the wastes within the area go into the canal” and that people defecate there as well.

True to One Love’s words, the We (The Hawk News) found someone defecating in the canal that afternoon. Near the canal, on the Road was a heap of garbage – evidence that, for some residents, it is simply about how and where they choose to dump their refuse and not about appropriateness or decency of the act. Everywhere you turn to in this part of Ashaiman, like many other places, it’s about debris-laden water channels; the dirt-ridden environment or both.

Proceeding from Circle towards Kaneshie and walking through State Housing Corporation (SHC) to State Transport Corporation (STC), one is suddenly stopped in his track upon beholding a dumpsite by Ahenfie Chapel, near Abossey- Okai roundabout. But it was not really designated a dumpsite. It was turned into one by traders and hawkers of the area who felt it is the ideal place to dump refuse.

The place is now also a habitat for rats, reptiles, mosquitoes and others emanating from them daily. Some people also burn refuse there while the area has become, according to a source, a haven for drug dealers and street urchins.

In Dansoman, Kwashieman, Ablekuma and Awoshie, Sowotoum, Sakaman, also have their water channels competing with all manner of waste. Within some of the streets, many garbage bins were full, waiting to be evacuated.

From Mile 7 to Amasaman, the bad state of some parts of the road and filthy drainages is such that would make one wonder how the area looks like in the rainy season.

Kofi Osei Owusu, a resident of Abofu told The Hawk News that some people dispose of their refuse in the canal, which explains why it is choked with rubbish. Another resident confirmed that huge sums of money is paid to individual refuse collectors to dispose of waste in the absence of reliable Waste Operators whom they say don’t come to the area.

In other locations, even when the volume of filth differs from place to place, it’s generally an eyesore of dirty surroundings and drainages.

Generally, the filth across Accra is the kind that takes one’s breath away. Regarding waste in Accra, it is not a case of the more you look, the less you see. It is more of the more you look, the uglier and alarming it gets. And the situation is worsened by the poor or inadequate action in evacuating them by waste management agencies.

In virtually all the places visited, residents told The Hawk News that Waste Managing Agencies either does not get to their neighbourhood or is no longer active.

Obed Asante, a resident of Alajo, said that Zoomlion does not get to his house. This was corroborated by another resident, Alhaji Abass who said he has only seen the company’s vehicles along major roads in the municipality, never in his vicinity.

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