The saga of our city litter bins

Tema, March 19, GNA— One of the stands that was supposed to hold the bin stood by the road side, fixed to the concrete plate that was meant to prevent thieves from taking the bin away, yet the bin was still gone.

Another bin was indeed at its location, but was not only full to the brim, but had, all around it, rubbish from perhaps people’s homes scattered around it as if it was a designated rubbish dumping site.

Other bins also stood full of rubbish and begging for city authorities to empty them of rubbish they had perhaps been carrying for days, if not weeks.

This was the current state of affairs of most of the bins that were distributed nationwide by the Government to help fight against indiscriminate littering in most city.

A Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, once informed city dwellers of the decision of government to provide bins at vantage points within the cities to fight against littering and that announcement was received with joy.

It is therefore sad that, just about two years of the provision of such facilities, they seem to have been neglected and are dying off gradually as if they do not matter.

This, of course, was not the first time such facilities were provided either by local or national governments in the fight against littering, and it was certain that the outcome had always been like this—the bins were either stolen or the rubbish stayed for weeks without being collected.

Some residents wonder why city authorities could not manage such facilities such that they helped to rid the city of filth. Others marvel why rubbish collectors delayed for many days before performing duties that they were obliged to do, whilst some would want to know why facilities that are meant to prevent littering ended up being used by some residents to dump refuse they make at home.

First of all, it is important to note that the central government did her part in providing the bins as promised and could be exonerated from any blame about its poor mismanagement and eventual destruction.

The onus therefore lies with the local authorities, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to ensure that the bins served the purpose to which they were provided and that they lasted as long as possible to justify the investments that went into their provision.

It therefore means that there is clearly a lapse in the monitoring abilities of the MMDAs to ensure that these waste bins are well managed.

The poor culture of maintenance. There has been talks about our inability to maintain infrastructure that are provided for the running of our communities, and so we look on with awe while school buildings rust off, markets decay, roads, that the central government spends so much money to construct, develop pot holes and are allowed to widen and become death traps, among others.

Then we lack the culture of improving upon what we have been given. Many a-times, we realize that instead of such facilities to be efficiently used to the extent that it would motivate the provision of such other facilities to further enhance development, one would realize that those facilities would be destroyed such that it would be demotivating to think about either replacing them or advancing the facility.

And so a visit to most government basic schools, for instance, would reveal that the once beautiful places of convenience provided as part of the construction of the school buildings have become so rotten that some benevolent organizations would have to provide alternative places of convenience for such schools, only for the new facility to also run down with time.

There is also the question of why residents within the communities, whose rubbish are supposed to be collected by rubbish collection companies, prefer to stop giving their waste materials to the said collectors and dump them by the city bins at the cover of darkness.

This certainly provokes the perception of irresponsibility on the part of such residents and presents a picture of how, collectively as a people, we have contributed to frustrating the effort of government to modernize our cities.

This culture of cutting ends has ensured that people always look for the easiest way out of their situations without paying the full price. This, of course, they do at the detriment of the common good, and in that regard, they destroy the environment that serves everybody just because they are not prepared to pay the necessary charges to waste collectors.

It is certain, that, if we want our communities and environments to be clean and our community infrastructure to serve us for as long as possible, everybody should be thinking about ensuring responsibility in the use of community facilities.

To those well-meaning Ghanaians who may never misuse such facilities, it is not enough just to do the right thing; they would have served the nation better if they campaign against such bad practices instead of just looking on whilst the wrong things are done.

It is also needful to say, that, in the maintenance of public infrastructure, it should not only be the responsibility of the MMDAs, but also heads of various institutions like schools, hospitals, churches, community leaders, etc. who wield some kind of authority over public facilities, instead of waiting for some outside hand to maintain the facilities for them.

Casting our eyes around, one could clearly see how nations are modernizing their communities with issues of sanitation lapse, etc., becoming a thing of the past. It is time, that, collectively, we begin to evolve a culture of cleanliness and maintenance that would ensure that our environment and community facilities are maintained for the common good and posterity.

The vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in making Accra the cleanest city in West Africa, could only materialize if the good people of Ghana, at every level of endeavor, make it a point to develop a culture of responsibility towards our environment and public facilities.