One of the challenges the colonial authorities encountered in the early days of their administration of the Gold Coast was hygiene.
Poor hygiene standards were prevalent hence disease outbreaks; something which required immediate action to arrest.
The various governors had cause to adopt stringent measures to instill a sense of hygiene among the ‘natives,’ as they referred to us.
The introduction of the sanitary inspection module in local government administration was one of such interventions. So effective was it that the action of summoning defaulters of the relevant bylaws to court earned the name ‘samasama.’
We find it interesting therefore that over a century and a half, since then, a British envoy would raise a legitimate concern about our poor relationship with the environment.
A pall of smoke drifting to another location from where it originates contaminates the atmosphere along its route. The envoy rightly describes it as poison.
The burning tyres and other acts of environmental indiscipline are prevalent in residential areas like Cantonments and others even as those responsible for stemming the anomaly are indifferent.
We are grateful that Ian Walker did not mince words in expressing his opprobrium about the reprehensible conduct as contained in a story in this edition.
There is no doubt that the reckless persons engaged in the bad habit share the query with the authorities whose shirking of their responsibility has led to the poisoning of the air we breathe.
We consider the envoy’s query as an important wakeup call for something to be done about our environmental indiscipline. We dread finding out the impression the envoy has about Ghana now that he has seen it all. Perhaps the briefing he received prior to his duty tour was about a country where discipline stands tall. What he was obviously not told was that in Ghana our gutters are uncovered and the citizens find nothing wrong with dumping rubbish in the drainage system and using discarded lorry tyres to burn off the furs of slaughtered livestock.
The health fallouts of the animal skins after their exposure to the fumes from the burnt tyres are not readily available, but for sure, it is anything but safe.
It is amazing that the relevant state agencies look on unconcerned as the tyre burning continues; one location particularly gaining notoriety for the occupation in the industrial area near Feoeyoo.
The British envoy must have been pushed to the wall to utter those words against those polluting the air: ‘disgusting, disgraceful and shocking’. It will interest the envoy to know that we in the DAILY GUIDE have been consistent in our condemnation of how little or nothing is being done to reverse the unacceptable trend.
He is not the first envoy to be constrained to express such a concern; his colleague from Down Under having also complained about filth in the city.
We wish to add that besides the environmental pollution, residents in Accra have had to contend with noise pollution and surprisingly nobody cares. Nobody has bothered to report the anomalous trends in their respective areas to the relevant authorities perhaps because they have become societal norms and so acceptable.
Now that envoys have helped voice out what we should have done, we can only express gratitude to them and beg the authorities to consider changing our status as backward in our relationship with the environment to a civilized population through the adoption of appropriate measures no matter whose ox is gored.