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Opinions of Thursday, 23 May 2024

Columnist: Kweku Opoku

Transforming rain from plague to blessing: A call for action in Ghana

Parts of Accra always get flooded after heavy rains Parts of Accra always get flooded after heavy rains

Rain is meant to be a blessing in Africa, where water management and agriculture are crucial to daily life. Unfortunately, it often turns into a tragedy. With each downpour, we witness apocalyptic scenes as roads transform into wild rivers, and cars become sinking boats.

The climate is changing, regardless of the cause, and we are not adapting quickly enough to stay safe or to use these changes for societal growth. A few years ago, the blame was on ice water plastic bags clogging gutters. Today, it might be plastic bottles. The damage to properties and productivity is significantly underestimated, turning what should be a blessing into a real plague.

Ghana, administratively well-structured, seems to fall short in this aspect. Despite having the right authorities in place, their actions on this issue are insufficient. Fixing these problems requires a collective effort from everyone, not just empty remarks like, "They need to fix this country!"

Sanitation is the most sensitive sector that needs immediate attention. Educating people and enforcing penalties for littering gutters are crucial steps. We should take inspiration from Singapore, where even chewing gum littering is strictly penalized.

City planning also needs a thorough overhaul. We must stop building on streams and water sources and enforce demolitions where necessary to save lives and properties. Building permits should be issued with stringent checks to ensure safety and sustainability.

Ghana is a beautiful country. We must preserve and develop it with conscience and care. After all, we have borrowed it from our children and must return it in better shape than we found it.