Over the years, various innovations have been introduced to enhance the living standards of the people. The water closet system is no longer out of the reach of the ordinary man as was the case a decade or so ago.
Public places of convenience are fitted with the hygienic system and for a nominal charge or fee, people who do not have such facilities in their places of residence can attend to nature’s call in comfort.
In spite of this, however, there are instances of people easing themselves in open gutters and places, a nasty spectacle to observe. Night soil carriers still carry human excreta and dump same into gutters which are not covered, a common feature around the drainage on the way to Graphic Road from Okaishie.
Interestingly, the night soil mode of disposing of human waste has been outlawed by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
Bylaws intended to enhance hygiene standards are largely breached and unenforceable by those responsible for the task. In cases where attempts are made to enforce the bylaws, the public outcry is always overwhelming.
With the sincerity of those in charge of enforcing the bylaws in doubt because of their proclivity to taking bribe and letting go defaulters, such personnel do not bear the necessary clout for such missions.
Another interesting area to consider is the open drainage system in our cities. It is quaint and we wonder why so many years after independence, it is still a feature of our urban areas, especially the nation’s capital.
In the neighbouring Francophone countries, gutters are covered and we wonder why we cannot do same here in Ghana.
Gutters outside the well planned portions of the nation’s capital such as East Legon, Cantonments and others, although uncovered, do not serve as outlets for domestic garbage as is the case in other parts of the city.
One of the reasons people in the slums pray for the rains is that it is a sure way of washing away the stagnant garbage in the gutters.
The eyesore in turning such open gutters into garbage dumping sites aside, it is one of the threats to the environment.
It is likely that when such gutters are closed, those who dump domestic refuse into them will be compelled to turn to the appropriate places to do so.
Perhaps, until we are able to garner adequate financial resources to close such drains, we must consider educating residents in especially places where the practice of dumping refuse into gutters is commonplace. This should be supported with a rigid enforcement of the relevant bylaws.
We do not appear to be changing from our old ways of doing things and here we encourage assembly members to do more to ensure that gutters are not used as refuse dumps.