Is Flogging Those Who Litter Indiscriminately REALLY The Solution To Our Waste Management Woes?

One of the numerous problems Ghanaians, especially those living in Accra have to deal with is the shameful amount of filth and rubbish decorating every nook and cranny. It is hard to find a stretch of inhabited space without rubbish waving at you from every corner. Our land is polluted and somehow we think it is ok.

In this century where developed countries are finding cures for cancer, our shithole inhabitants are shamefully dying of third-world diseases like cholera and diarrhea. Malaria has become so normal as a disease that very few people appreciate just how deadly it is. Complain about malaria symptoms and you’re likely to hear someone say “Oh it’s just malaria, you’ll be fine”. Just Malaria!!! Like that shit can’t kill the f**k out of you.

We are so used to breathing polluted air and dealing with huge quantities of filth on a daily basis that it has eaten deep into our psyche as a nation and turned us into shitty, polluted and corrupted people at heart.  Sigh. We claim cleanliness is next to godliness. But if we are to sincerely measure just how “godly” we are as a people using the amount of filth we amass and dispose of improperly daily, then we’d be the worst thing next to Satan.

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Yet we have churches in every corner and every slum. It’s rare to hear a pastor or preacher talk about keeping the environment clean in order to draw closer to God. All they seem to know how to preach about is money and the importance of tithing and who’s to die next. Even in churches, we litter.

The authorities have done a very poor job of providing proper waste management systems, sometimes it’s hard to blame people for littering. It is not very common to see a rubbish bin (that isn’t already overflowing with rubbish) in public, so people just throw their waste around. Littering is another act that is normal to Ghanaians. You will find a nicely dressed gentleman or lady carelessly throw a pure water sachet into the street after drinking water from it and no one will bat an eyelid because our environment is our rubbish bin.

We have choked all our already malfunctioning drainage systems with the products of our indiscipline and turn to complain when it rains and our communities get flooded. Our gutters are filled with rubbish, especially plastic waste, leaving no space for water to flow freely. So everywhere is a mess. Fresh air has become a luxury.

Every new government promises to do something about the waste drowning our land but we are still where we are. Is it that we just can’t help but be filthy or what exactly is the solution to this problem? Recently Hon. Kennedy Agyepong, MP for Assin Central proposed flogging perpetrators of public littering as a means of solving the waste management problem. People who litter deserve all the lashes to serve as a deterrent to others. But really, is that the solution to the problem?

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If someone litters because they truly have nowhere else to throw their rubbish and you flog them publicly, does a rubbish bin magically appear for them to throw rubbish in instead? It is true that most Ghanaians are just undisciplined and need to be checked. But there are some who will do the right thing if provided with the avenue to do so.

The institutions responsible for proper waste disposal should sit up and live up to their salaries and provide proper waste management systems so that people don’t have an excuse to litter indiscriminately. This is such a shameful problem to have. And when we are referred to as a shithole, we take offense. If it isn’t, then why the hell does it stink so bad?

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