The rains are here again! Let’s all put our hands on deck
The rains are here again with its attendant problems of floods resulting in loss of lives, destruction of properties and heavy traffic due to the bad nature of our roads,
A typical example is the June 3, 2015 flooding and fire disaster in Accra which claimed hundreds of lives and injured many, most of whom were taking shelter at a petrol filling station.
It has now become an annual phenomenon that in the rainy season the least incessant downpour results in flooding in most parts of Accra leading to loss of lives and the destruction of properties worth millions of cedis.
Last Tuesday’s downpour at dawn, which lasted for about four hours resulted in flooding in some parts of Accra with about six deaths and loss of properties. This was followed by another downpour on Wednesday evening which caused flooding and created heavy traffic jam on some major roads in Accra, especially the North Kaneshie Industrial Area route to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
The causes of these floods are evident. Despite the havoc of floods, people are oblivious and continue to litter the environment dumping refuse into drains. This has led to choked gutters.
Coupled with that, the least downpour exposes the bad nature of our roads and in such instances a journey of about 30 minutes could take several hours as drivers try to swerve the potholes to avoid damaging their vehicles. In some cases the potholes are so deep that the road becomes unmotorable.
There is the need to take action to avert any disaster. On June 6, as part of measures to educate the public to prevent flooding, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, with support from Zoomlion Ghana Limited embarked on a sensitisation campaign to clear the drains in some parts of the Eastern, Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions. The initiative is commendable and this must be extended to other areas to sensitise more people as some are recalcitrant and litter indiscriminately thus posing danger to other residents.
The assemblies must be proactive to enforce bye-laws in order to punish those who are recalcitrant and dump refuse in open drains. This would deter others from treading that same path.
The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) must get involved in the fight and constantly organise public education on the need for people to keep their environment clean to promote healthy living.
Barely a week ago on Friday, June 5, World Environment Day was observed and one of its objectives was “to encourage people to make their nearby surroundings safe, and clean to enjoy safer, cleaner and more prosperous future.”
The Spectator is, therefore, of the view that individuals must also be responsible enough to volunteer to clear the drains in their neighbourhood to control the annual flooding during the rainy season which claims lives and destroys property. The average citizenry, especially market women must be educated on sanitation practices and also sensitised to constantly practise good personal hygiene.
One disturbing issue is that people keep building on waterways but this must stop. The authorities should not allow such things to happen. Those who buy plots of land should be vigilant and make the necessary checks with the appropriate authorities before they commit themselves.
Those in low lying areas and water ways should take the necessary precautions and relocate to safety in times of a downpour.
As the Meteorological Department had announced that this year, the rains would be heavy and The Spectator hopes that authorities would continue with the dredging of storm drains and desilting of gutters to avert any disaster.
Since some people continue to litter, we suggest that refuse containers must be placed at vantage points in the cities and emptied regularly. Poor sanitation has resulted in most of these perennial floods and its attendant problems.
Remember, the rains are here again! Let’s all put our hands on deck to save lives.