Government has been advised to as a matter of urgency consider declaring a national emergency for a clean environment to bring together traditional rulers, local, health , and education authorities to find practical ways of saving the country from the health hazards as a result of the prevailing insanitary conditions.
Asantehene Otumfour Osei Tutu II made the call when he delivered the keynote address at the 19th Ghana Journalist Association Award on the theme “”using development journalism to discern and defend the national interest’’ in Accra.
The current insanitary condition in the country has triggered an outbreak of cholera in the country which has so far claimed 92 lives from over 10,000 reported cases in just three months.
It has now spread to 52 districts across seven regions of the country, excluding the three northern regions- Northern, Upper East and Upper West.
He lamented over the level at which the country has been engulfed with filth making it a haven for breeding mosquitoes after nearly 60 years of Independence.
“We exude pride in ourselves not just as Ghanaians, but as the torch-bearers of African renaissance. How does that pride square with the mounds of refuge in the heart of our cities?” he questioned.
“What makes this more tragic is that all available evidence points to the fact that our forefathers and mothers lived in a cleaner environment than we are he emphasized adding that While creative nations turn their refuse into wealth, we prefer to let our people die from the refuse.
According to him the education and social advancement we are enjoying currently should not rather leave us reneging on our sense of responsibility for our own health and well-being especially when the continent is battling with the deadly Ebola.
The Asantehene has therefore called on policy makers to take pragmatic measures to address the challenge facing the continent.
After nearly 60 years of independence, Ghana is being swallowed in filth and murk. We have created a haven for breeding mosquitoes. Man and cattle breed together in the heart of our cities. We exude pride in ourselves not just as Ghanaians, but as the torch-bearers of African renaissance. How does that pride square with the mounds of refuge in the heart of our cities? And have we dared to count the cost of this shameful neglect. Even beyond the threat of ebola and the tragedy of cholera, the main cause of death in our nation remains malaria and malaria is caused simply by mosquitoes which we are breeding ourselves.
What makes this more tragic is that all available evidence points to the fact that our forefathers and mothers lived in a cleaner environment than we are. The local authorities before us maintained rigorous standards of sanitation control and our mothers, who had not had the benefit of the education we have enjoyed, knew why they had to keep their homes and environs well kept, well swept and devoid of stagnant pools of water. Are we saying that what all our education and social advancement have done is to condition us to abandon our sense of responsibility for our own health and well-being?
And what of our authorities? Our forefathers did not have the benefit of science arid technology as we do today. The fire is such ample technology today that nations have turned their refuse into wealth. While creative nations turn their refuse into wealth, we prefer to let our people die from the refuse.
There is no tenable excuse for this negligence in Ghana or in any African country and my message today, as Africa confronts the twin threats of ebola and cholera, is for our leaders and policy makers to put on their thinking caps.
We need to place the issue of sanitation as a matter of national concern. Indeed, I suggest we consider a National Emergency for a Clean Environment to bring together, the local authorities, health authorities, education authorities and our traditional rulers to find practical ways of saving our nation from the health hazards brought by our insanitary conditions.
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