Same old story every year just around this time. Every newspaper screams the same headlines, ‘Floods in Accra!’ ‘Hundreds Displaced By Perennial Floods!’, ‘Homes Destroyed by Floods!’ and it goes on year after year, print after print. It shouldn’t be a headliner anymore I think, just waste of headline space.
Why are we faced with the same flood issues every June? Is there anything that can be done about it? Is there anything being done about it before the perennial rains come or we wait till the last minute to raise our hands to our heads in woe?
Last week Thursday, I was about 14,000ft above the city when the reported floods hit several parts of the country. Being in an 18-seater plane in a rainstorm is not a joke and not a ride I want to experience again. Thankfully when I landed on solid ground (after whispering a prayer of thanks) I was confronted with the unnecessary floods which had brought chaos to the city-dwellers.
These are my reasons why the perennial floods aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and will be a continuous, traumatic, property destroying event on our calendar. I am not being pessimistic but lets face facts and these are some of them.
Our Attitude Towards Waste
Is it that we abhor dustbins or we have a phobia of clean streets and environments as Ghanaians? People dump rubbish on the ground wherever they find themselves; throw out pure water sachets & plantain chips packaging from tro-tro cars, market women dump their paper and bodily waste into anything that looks remotely like a gutter, people come out of their houses to pour all kinds of household waste into the drains in front of their houses to choke the neighbourhood gutter. I was walking in front of Ghana Commercial Bank last week Saturday after my usual market day and whilst struggling with my wares, I noticed a young girl who was coming towards me. She was eating something out of a paper and it seemed she was done as she scrunched up the paper and guess what…just threw it onto the ground. Already tired of seeing filth in my city, I stopped the girl as she passed by me and spoke in Twi,
"Herh! Why did you just throw the paper on the ground? What you did was it right?” My anger was just boiling on the surface.
“Oh please, I am sorry!” she said apologetically.
I couldn’t tell her to go pick it up because our city also lacks dustbins so her picking it up would mean it would still get dumped elsewhere.
Ghanaians won’t learn from past mistakes and we keep going back and back and back to the same old things which constantly brings us woes and troubles. Or maybe the government needs to bring back Town Council (Tan Carci), the died-out authorised sanitation team that went round to houses to inspect cleanliness in houses and their surroundings. Everyone kept their houses clean because of these guys.
Building On Waterways
The city is chocked and people are building on anything which looks like land which includes waterways and wetlands. Areas where water is supposed to pass thats where someone chooses to invest hard-earned cash to build their ‘dream’ home. How they even get the permit to build these houses also beats my imagination. When the rains come, the water looks for the easiest places to pass but no the humans have barricaded its access to the sea and other natural rivers, so what does it do? Stay in one place.
Disposal of City waste
Before I got to the market that same Saturday, I came across a group of people holding placards of sorts with sanitation messages scrawled on most of them. Its only today that I read in the Daily Graphic about this same group which are blaming city authorities for the poor sanitation in the city. Waste not being collected by authorised waste collectors ends up being washed into our ever opened gutters. (Why do we even have open gutters in this country?) The Accra Metropolitan Assembly always comes up with different reasons for the sanitation issues in the city and I am sure misappropriation of funds isnt one of them. What happened to the transparent waste bins implemented some years ago? Maintaining dustbins in this country seems to be a very mysterious project which never seems to work out. Either the bins get stolen, destroyed or never gets emptied. Maybe we need stone dustbins. Yeah that should work.
I am experiencing flood fatigue. I am tired of seeing these things happen every year and this year is just about getting started and tagging behind these floods will be rise of cholera, malaria and major destruction of roads which of course means road incidents. Have you seen the condition of the roads of late? Just in about 2 weeks, most of the roads in Osu, Cantonments and Labadi have manholes the size of a moon crater! Huge! By the way, avoid using the Zenith College road and also the road behind the British Ambassdors’ residence…its crazy there!
What do you think are the lasting solutions to these floods? I would love to discuss this on your comments submitted below.