First Saturday of every month has been earmarked as National Sanitation Day (NSD) across Ghana.
First declared on November 1, 2014 by the Government of Ghana in response to the 2014 Ghanaian cholera outbreak, the day is a voluntary clean-up exercise for all Ghanaian residents in an effort to reduce unsanitary conditions that breed diseases and cause injuries.
The National Sanitation Day is an initiative by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).
A bill was sent to Parliament by the Ministry (now passed into law), and approved to give legal backing to the NSD program allowing it to prosecute individuals who refuse to take part in the program.
Owing to this, all Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) have put in place a taskforce to inspect, arrest and prosecute residents in the Assemblies who fail to keep their environment clean or engage in indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
Despite the frantic efforts to rid the communities of waste and to prevent disease transmission some residents within the areas, especially within the first class residential areas failed to keep their places tidy.
The situation where residents from these first class residential areas do not participate in the Sanitation Day Exercise could be due to pride, “bigmanism”, lack of trust in the City Authorities, over reliance on local authorities or ignorance among others.
Assembly Members of the respective areas must therefore appeal to their electorates to participate effectively and efficiently during the exercise to rid the communities of filth.
The City Authorities must also be up and doing in their commitment to provide dust bins, refuse containers for lifting, community dumping sites and basic logistics like shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, wellington boots, hand gloves and roller trucks among others.
They must make sure they lead in the clean-up exercises so as to garner the interest of the public and clear all heaps taken from the gutters and the streets on time to prevent them from going back into the gutters.
The performance of service providers must be enhanced considerably to be able to expand their service coverage by registering many more clients to the house-to-house waste collection services.
Efforts of the service providers over the years have yielded some positive results thereby reducing the incidence of indiscriminate or clandestine dumping of solid waste within the communities.
Residents must also rekindle the communal spirit and embark on regular clean-up exercises in their communities since keeping the environment clean would prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases.
There should be all inclusive massive clean-up exercise in the areas where participants can sweep the streets, clear choked gutters and weed the surroundings.
Residents must not see their participation in self-help projects as a burden being imposed on them by the government in that participation in communal labour helps to accelerate the pace of development.