“Why do you have rubbish in your bag?” Well, those are the exact words I hear whenever someone sees trash in my bag. To be frank, I don’t like leaving trash around when there’s no bin around me. I get angry when I see someone throwing rubbish indiscriminately, especially from moving vehicles.
We often forget that we are the custodians of our environment, and that Ghana is not only for the people in authority. It is our sole responsibility to keep our environment clean – nobody will do it for us. I understand our authorities may not have implemented the necessary measures, such as placing bins at vantage points to help make the proper disposal of rubbish, but it doesn’t mean we should irresponsibly dispose our rubbish.
Ask yourself, how did the cleanest cities make that happen? I believe it’s not just by government initiatives, but also individuals seeing it as their sole responsibility to keep their surroundings clean. Improperly disposed waste poses a serious threat to the environment, as saw during the June 3rd disaster, which was as a result of choked gutters.
Illegal dumping and improper disposal of waste are two of the major contributors to the pollution of our water bodies and public spaces. Keeping our environment clean is a collective responsibility that we all share and is not to be left to the authorities. To make Accra the cleanest city in Africa, we should first start from our homes, as charity begins at home. Then we move to schools markets and public spaces.
Let’s look at some roles we can play as patriotic citizens to help keep our environment clean. Like I mentioned before, one of the most common ill habits is throwing rubbish around. If this is controlled, it would be a major step to keeping a clean city. Cultivate the habit of keeping your rubbish with you and properly disposing of it when you find a bin.
Another simple but thoughtful way of keeping our environment clean is by organizing community clean-ups and tree planting exercices. Encouraging the young and old in our communities to regularly partake in clean-ups, will constantly remind them about how important it is to keep our environment clean and green.
I am you have heard of the 3 R’s – Refuse, Reuse and Recycle. It is not rocket science. One of easiest way to manage waste is to reduce how much of it you use in the first place. Use fewer plastic bags to carry the things you buy and reuse old plastics bags and containers when you can. Recycle as much as you can and then properly dispose of the remaining. Plastics, glass, paper and aluminium are the most common recyclables and reusable materials around. Don’t get rid of these materials when you are done with them – Think of other ways you can make reuse them.
Landfill and improperly disposed waste, especially plastics, go a long way to pollute the environment. Several countries have banned plastics, but since it is not the case here, we have to cultivate the culture of recycling. Let’s make it a point to learn more about what can and can’t be recycled, and start practicing waste segregation from home.
I am optimistic that these efforts will go a long way in keeping the Ghana clean and making the environment a safer place to live.