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Accra, a city of weeds! Tackling our culture of environmental neglect!

With so much biting, unrestrained and sometimes even cruel criticisms in the Ghanaian media, about every action and inaction of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, I really wonder what those expressing concern about a new ‘culture of silence’ actually mean.

Anyway, in my view, if anything, what is much more worrying, what needs to be talked about, but which is being ignored, is what can be termed ‘a culture of negligence’.

I mean specifically, a ‘culture of environmental neglect’, defined by one source as “failure to care for and protect one’s surroundings”.

Shouldn’t everybody be concerned, for example, that our capital city is practically being swallowed by weeds?

Why should the fertility of our soils be demonstrated by the amount of weeds flourishing everywhere in our country’s principal city?

One person who has shown that he does care is the Greater Accra Regional Minister Henry Quartey.

But are people complementing his efforts, by at least brightening their own corner?

Isn’t it the culture of negligence that has seen Ghana losing so much forest cover that now the Government has had to launch a crash tree-planting project to restore our forests?

Thus just over a month ago, on June 11, the ‘Green Ghana Day’ initiative, aimed at planting five million trees all over the country, took the country by storm.

But after the tree-planting, what next?

Secondly, the topical news currently is the amazing feat chalked by Mr. Quartey, getting the onion traders at the Agbogbloshie Market to relocate to Adjen Kotoku, near Amasaman, as part of his laudable ‘Let’s make Accra work’ drive.

It is evident that others operating there will also have to relocate.

But after the relocations, what next?

What is to be done with the vacated area at Agbogbloshie?

I have one answer to both questions, a suggestion: why not develop the Agbogbloshie site into a green area, a park for the capital, to fulfil a long-felt need for an Accra City Park?

There is need for one, because clearly, the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park, for instance, has a different purpose.

It would also serve to improve the Accra aura spectacularly as the backdrop to the developments in the city, the magnificent structures springing up all over.

Indeed, creating parks all over the country would be a fitting complement to the ‘Green Ghana’ programme.

Of course the initiators of the ‘Green Ghana’, and the Minister, may have plans for the next phase.

However, I’m hoping that the Government, and other stakeholders, will give consideration to my idea of converting Agbogbloshie into a park befitting Ghana’s First City.

It also seems to me that now more than ever, as I have written a number of times, the Department of Parks and Gardens needs to be revived and resourced to play a lead role in the beautification of the capital city and other places.

As I have pointed out in this space, even in London which is seen as a very commercial city, surprisingly, a few minutes’ walk left or right, away from the busy famous shopping street, Oxford Street, will take one to a park, including areas with seats to rest shopping-weary legs.

By one estimate there are as many as 25 parks in London, all phenomenal ones!

Again, South Korea where land for development is scarce and their capital, Seoul, surrounded by mountains, despite that, they have managed to decorate their streets with plants and flowers.

They have flowers in baskets hanging from the lampposts.

The neglect of Accra’s spaces, especially with central reservations and road shoulders teeming with weeds, is bewildering – and shameful.

A few days ago, going around the city, what I saw confirmed that nothing has changed since the last time this column drew attention to the messy state of many Accra streets, including the N1, the George Walker Bush Highway: with a litter-strewn median and broken railings.

Regarding the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout, how can this prime site and its environs be allowed to look like a weeds emporium?

Another example of the deplorable sights was the Ceremonial Route right from Legon, through the ’37 Military Hospital, past Jubilee House to the Ako-Adjei Interchange.

The picture from the Ako-Adjei past the Nima Police Station and the Paloma Restaurant environs to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was no better.

Unbelievably, on the High Street, both sides of that prestigiously-named thoroughfare were sprouting weeds, from the Courts Complex, through the Arts Centre to the open space in front of the General Post Office (GPO).

Most disappointing of all, even the fenced off mini spaces directly opposite the Bank of Ghana and the old office of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, as well as that in front of the GPO, were all overgrown with weeds! Shocking!

Why has our capital become a city of weeds, as if Ghana is aiming to export weeds?

At Dansoman Estate, although I was happy to observe some saplings planted in the central reservation of the General Acheampong High Street, being nursed to grow into decorative trees, there was cause for concern.

Unbelievably, the Theresa Amerley Tagoe memorial roundabout, inaugurated with fanfare just last November, is displaying lots of weeds, one more evidence of the culture of neglect!

So I ask again: Why has the Department of Parks and Gardens been put on the back burner at a period when their expertise is needed as never before?

At least in the past we felt its presence because we used to see its staff busy at work, usually tending the medians.

Why does it seem that we revel in the unkempt appearance of the nation’s capital?

Mr. Quartey, please bring on board the Department of Parks and Gardens!

Furthermore, Accra-dwellers need to appreciate that it will take a collective effort to give the capital the ambience worthy of a metropolis – and undoubtedly the rest of the country will take their cue from Accra.

Source:Graphiconline/ajoayeboahafari@yahoo.com 

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Environment

Regional Police Commander urges Ghanaians to help eliminate human trafficking

DCOP, Anderson Fosu-Ackah

 Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Anderson Fosu-Ackah, Eastern Regional Police Commander has called on Ghanaians to help fight and eliminate human trafficking from the country. 

According to him, if proactive measures were not taken to end the menace from the Ghanaian community, the canker would continue to steal the potentials of future exuberant leaders who have so much to contribute to national development.

DCOP Fosu-Ackah was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a Toyota Hiace Mini Bus donation to the Eastern Regional Police Command Anti-Human Trafficking Unit to help fight activities of human trafficking in the region by the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental organization, supporting the fight. 

He said victims of human trafficking were potential societal and national threats towards development hence the need to intensify awarenesses and get it eradicated. 

“They take them very young and some of them do not get access to education, healthcare, nutrition among others so it’s a challenge for all of us and we need to speak against it.

And because they don’t get access to education, they end up not finding anything to do because most of them do not know what to do at a certain age in life so let’s all come together and speak against it before it becomes a threat to the national agenda,” he said. 

The Regional Commander called on all to help fight against activities of human trafficking adding that it does not help the victims, community and the country at large as people were not given the opportunity to unleash their God given potentials. 

“The victims are not given the chance to fully develop their potential because they’re beaten, restricted, punished and go through a whole lot of inhumane acts by their masters, ” he added. 

He said some people do not understand the practices of human trafficking therefore they think it was far from them, noting that it was within the communities where by people see and smell it all the time hence the need to get it stopped. 

 He urged all well meaning Ghanaians to report suspected cases to the Anti-Human Trafficking institutions across the country and they would be ready to act swiftly.

“When you see it, alert the police , reach out to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and tell the International Justice Mission that something is going on in your community and we will move in quickly to save and rescue the people,” he advised. 

Ms. Anita Budu, Director of Operations at IJM said the core mission of the IJM Ghana office is to work with law enforcement and other government agencies to rescue children who have fallen victim to child trafficking on the Volta Lake, restore such victims and facilitate the prosecution of the perpetrators. 

She said the organization has been able to achieve great feats of its mission through the collaboration and collective hard work with the Ghana Police Service, the Department of Social Welfare, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Judicial Service, its shelter partners, and other interested stakeholders.

Ms. Budu noted that with collective efforts and proactive measures, human trafficking especially child trafficking on the Volta Lake would be a thing of the past.

By Philip Teye Agbove/ Nationalistgh.com

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Environment

St Peter Anglican Church gets Prayer Center at Nungua

Mrs Frederica and Mr. Martin Olu Davies speaking during a dedication ceremony of the new prayer center

The Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Nungua in the Greater Accra Region has been blessed with a new prayer centre.

The centre is a legacy, which was started by the late Mrs. Matilda Olu Davies a dedicated member of the church.

The garden was, however, completed by her four children: Jemima, Frederica, Godfred, and Martin, all of Olu Davies.

Speaking at a ceremony to dedicate the prayer centre and unveiling of its plague, the Reverend Dr. Daniel Sylvanus Mensah Torto, Bishop of Accra Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Ghana, charged the Church to use the centre for the purpose it has been made for.

He said the place must be made accessible for all as it would be a place of great miracles.

Rev. Dr. Torto also urged the Church to make the prayer garden a holy place adding that, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness, therefore always maintain its clean environment as seen today.”

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mrs. Frederica Mensah Olu Davies, second daughter of the late Matilda Olu Davies said their mother had a dream to put up a prayer centre at St. Peter Anglican Church at Nungua, hence, elated that through the children the dream has become a reality.

“It was her dream over some time, and luckily for us, we have a Reverend Minister who would normally visit her in her old age at home and give her communion.

“And so, each time he came around, he adores the old lady’s garden, they will discuss it and it was like, look, let’s have it at the Church premises so that at the end of the day we will have everybody coming in to pray and will see whatever happens with prayer requests.

“So, two years ago she got her seed money, got her Card Gardner to come and start with this prayer center. Initially, the venue was given to her, and the gardener started with the greens. We were on it till she passed on,” she said.

She noted that the prayer center was the manifestation of what their mother had in mind and thanked her for the Christian religious values bestowed on them, adding that they would prove it and pass it on to their children.

“I will also appeal to Anglicans that whatever we have done, our mother started, and we have finished it and this should be emulated at the other Anglican Churches,” Mrs. Olu Davies said.

She stated that parents, families, and individuals could also put their hands together to build such prayer centres to ensure that Christians improve upon their spiritual growth.

She said it was not everything that the leadership could do for the church, hence, individual contribution was key.

“We should be able to ensure that we develop ourselves in prayer and make sure that whatever we ask from the Lord, it will be done especially in an environment like where you see me standing now,” she added.

She noted that the family would also ensure that the Calvary, which was currently not in good shape, would be rehabilitated.

By Philip Teye Agbove/ GNA

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Environment

Road users on Accra-Tema motorway to pay tolls after expansion works

Accra-Tema Motorway

 

Commuters on the Accra-Tema motorway will start paying tolls again after the completion of expansion works on the road.

Similarly, users of other newly constructed roads would also have to pay road tolls to use those roads.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said this when he presented the Mid-year budget review statement in Parliament on Monday (July 25, 2022).

He said the completed road will be tolled to help recover the whole cost.

The toll will also be to “pay lenders and provide a return for equity investors, the minister said.

The collection of road tolls nationwide was stopped in November 2021.

Under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme for road infrastructure, the Accra-Tema Motorway and Extension PPP Project to 10 lanes is currently at its procurement stage, the Finance Minister said.

Site works are expected to commence in September 2022.

“The Government of Ghana has made a strategic decision, in line with the Public Private Partnership Act, 2020 (Act 1039) to procure the Accra-Tema Motorway and Extensions Project through GIIF with a mandate to deliver a Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund-led PPP financing solution, where maximum funds are raised from the market,” the Minister explained.

Majority ownership of the project will remain with the GIIF on behalf of the government.

The Minister also noted that the draft Concession Agreement between GIIF and MoRH is currently under review by GIIF, MoRH, the Office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Finance.

When completed, the Concession Agreement is expected to be approved by the PPP Committee, Cabinet and Parliament.

The government is providing funding through GIIF to take equity in the Special Purpose Vehicle to be created by GIIF for the project.

Source: Graphic Online

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