The National Sanitation Day instituted by government to deal with Ghana’s embarrassingly poor sanitation situation started on a promising note albeit slow.
Citizens in various suburbs of the country’s cities, towns and villages, desilted gutters and swept the streets.
Participating in the national clean-up were the President, John Mahama, his vice, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Local Government Minister, Julius Debrah, chiefs and opinion leaders.
The turn-out was impressive in some areas although in other areas the numbers were less encouraging.
A recurring problem organisers may have to tackle in the first Saturday of December is that some residents closed their businesses but folded arms and watched others do the cleaning.
At popular slum, Nima, Vice-President Amissah-Arthur inspected work being done in desilting choked gutters.
Chiefs and opinion leaders in Nima, rather famous for its poor sanitation, actively participated in the clean-up exercise although same could not be said of ordinary residents.
Assemblyman for Nima West, Alhaji Umar Sanda Mohammed, expressed frustration at the non-involvement of market women in the clean up exercise.
Alhaji Sanda who was having a discussion with some chiefs, said it was disappointing that despite the pleas of the chiefs, Imams and other opinion leaders the attitude of the traders was least encouraging.
He was also concerned about the unavailability of tools with which to properly execute the task of cleaning the streets.
The assemblyman expressed his optimism that the next clean-up exercise next month will be an improvement on Today’s.
From the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, joined residents in the clean-up exercise.
He said his subjects had disgraced him by living in filth.
The Asantehene said the National Sanitation Day is a wake-up call on Ghanaians to stop indiscriminate littering.
Government launched the NSD as part of renewed measures to deal with the country’s sanitation problems.
Local Government Minister, Julius Debrah, said he will not allow any possible political consequences to force him to back down on his resolve to prosecute sanitation offenders.
He said the country’s ranking on countries with poor sanitation is so shameful he is determined to reverse the situation no matter the consequences.
Mr. Debrah recently directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to prosecute sanitation offenders and show him the proof.
He said he has the backing of President John Mahama to sanction any MMDCE(s) who fail to respect the directive.
The president himself joined the residents of Sogakope in the Volta Region for Saturday’s clean-up exercise.
He urged Ghanaians to join the campaign.
See photographs of the first Day event of the National Sanitation Day programme.