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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.


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Residents stranded as flood cuts off bridge at Saboba

The Saboba District of the Northern Region has been cut off from the rest of the region following the annual flooding of the Kpalba bridge.

Each year between August and September commuters rely on canoes without live jackets to cross to Saboba.

Last year Basic Education Certificate Examination candidates had to be carried across with canoes organised by the assembly to enable them write their final exam. Heavy rains in the area have caused the River to overflow flooding the bridge.

A resident, Timalbe Ama, told JoyNews that women suffer a lot at the peak of every rainy season when they have to travel.

“We only have one canoe which will cross all these number of people. I’ve been here for more than an hour now and I’m still waiting to cross,” she said.

Madam Ama said several appeals to authorities have not yielded anything positive, adding that “our leaders are already aware of the problem so they should help us.”

Another resident, Dimakpe Williams, said he spends more to travel the same distance to Yendi, adding that he now has to pay an extra GH¢40 at the bridge.

“I am going to Yendi, I can’t swim so I am compelled to use the canoe. If I’m going they will take GH¢20 and if coming the same amount,” he said.

He said when people are seriously sick at this time of the year, the difficulty they face is troubling.

He said some of the patients die in the process of waiting for the canoe to carry them across.

“When someone is sick unless they use the canoe to cross with the person, sometimes some even die in the process of crossing,” the resident noted.

He appealed to the government to come to their aid.

Another commuter expressed worry over challenges students face crossing. He said it is risky.

“The students suffer a lot during the rainy season, especially in August and September. Anytime the students are going to school there is only one canoe which overloads them, so those who do not get space are forced to stay home,” he said.


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Climate Change Impact: Water Aid Ghana intensifies advocacy for safe water

 Climate change has been identified as the most significant challenge to water security in northern Ghana, a new study has revealed.

The impacts on water is also being aggravated by the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts in communities already experiencing water stress and poor sanitation.

The study indicated that water availability would become more unreliable with increased climate variability, aggravating the situation in already water-stressed regions in Ghana.

Water Aid Ghana, an international non-governmental organisation, commissioned the study to investigate the impact of climate change on water security in four districts, namely, Wa Municipality, Bongo, Kasena Nankana West, and Bawku West Districts as a case study.

The study also helped to review Ghana’s National Climate Adaptation Plan (NCAP) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for purposes of identifying gaps and missing timelines and how to integrate water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

It also helped to conduct stakeholder mapping to inform WaterAid Ghana’s advocacy on climate and water security.

At a stakeholder advocacy engagement held on Tuesday in Accra, Mr Jesse Coffie Danku, Head, Sustainable Programmes Department, Water Aid Ghana, who presented the findings of the study, said climate change was highly affecting water access for people in the four selected districts.

He said majority of respondents, (67.4 percent) in the study said they had experienced change in access to water, while 31.5 percent of the respondents indicated that there had been no change in access to water, with 1.1 percent respondents who thought they do not know about any change in terms of their access to water.

In indicating the specific changes associated with access to water, 25.8 percent of respondents were of the view that low water table, increases in community boreholes, and dry wells and boreholes were the changes they experienced in accessing water.

Another observed change, according to respondents, was the amount of time spent in accessing water, where 12.9 percent of the respondents said “they now spend more time than before, and 9.7 percent believe the erratic nature of water supply is a sign of current changes in climate.”

Mr Danku indicated that, meanwhile, another research had also revealed that 80 percent of diseases were caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Also, climate change, water and sanitation were so interlinked, and so as the phenomenon continued to threaten the achievements already made in WASH service provision and sustainability in the country, there was the need to take action to safeguard the situation.

This was because water, sanitation and hygiene were critical for socio-economic development, food security, healthy environments, as well as central to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and improving the health, welfare and productivity of the population.

Mr Danku, therefore, said to tackle the challenges of climate change and water sustainability, particularly in the five northern regions, there was the need for government to prioritise safe water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues as national climate adaptation strategy, especially in the northern sector.

The problem could also be tackled through an effective implementation of national adaptation plans and the NDCs with clear synergies and opportunities.

“There is the need for government to embark on effective country-driven climate change adaptation measures by rigorously pursuing its NCAP and NDCs to urgently address water security to reduce vulnerability and build climate resilience in Ghana.”

He said as government was currently reviewing its national policies on climate change water, it was important that all stakeholders joined forces to push for the integration and implementation of WASH issues in national policies and programmes.

Source :GNA

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Elephants on rampage: 3 Killed, farmlands destroyed

• Some of the stray elephants and Fuseini Mbeini  (right), one of the deceased
Some of the stray elephants and Fuseini Mbeini (right), one of the deceased

Three persons, including a woman, have been killed by a herd of stray elephants in the Yunyoo/Nasuan District and the East Mamprusi Municipality in the North East Region after the animals raided the area last Wednesday.

One of the deceased, identified as Mr. Fuseini Mbieni, aged 42, is said to have been killed by the stray animals after he attempted to ward them off his farm. Two unidentified persons were also attacked and killed when they tried photographing the marauding animals.

The wild animals, said to have migrated from their habitation in a forest reserve in neighbouring Togo to graze in the area, also destroyed large acres of farmlands.

The Daily Graphic gathered that the aggrieved residents also launched an attack on the animals and gunned down three of them following the incident. They later shared the meat among themselves.


The acting North East Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr. Robert Anabiik Anmain, confirmed the incident to the Daily Graphic and said the police had commenced investigation into the matter.

He explained that the animals raided the area and when the residents attempted to drive them away to prevent them from destroying their crops, the elephants used their trunks and stamped on one of the farmers, killing him instantly.

He added that “the body of the deceased farmer was completely mutilated.”

The animals then moved to different communities and killed two persons.

He said the bodies of the deceased had since been conveyed to a morgue at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu for autopsy.

Eyewitness account

According to an eyewitness, Mr. David Kpatia, “the residents were following the stray elephants and taking some pictures. Later I saw the aggressive elephants attacking two people who were close to them. They stepped on them, killing them instantly.”

He said Fuseini Mbieni, who was a resident of Gbintiri, was killed on his farm after he attempted to ward off the rampaging elephants.

This is not the first time elephants have attacked residents in the northern part of the country.

Last year, residents in the Nabdam District in the Upper East Region who farm along the wildlife forest reserve at Sakote had their farmlands destroyed by stray elephants. About 300 acres of farmlands were destroyed, with an estimated GH¢80,200 as cost of damage.

Source : Graphiconline

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