City authorities in Kumasi say they have begun strict enforcement of sanitation by-laws in an effort to eliminate indiscriminate littering of the streets.
Metropolitan Chief Executive, Osei Assibey Antwi, says the era of verbal warning and caution of offenders is over.
“Initially, it was just a caution. About 70 that were arrested initially were just cautioned but now we have moved away from the caution. Now, anybody that is going to be arrested littering, you are going to be sent to court and if you know that, at least you will get your one month,” he said.
He was speaking at the launch of sanitation and environment as well as an anti-corruption event by the Catholic Bishops Conference in Kumasi.
Kumasi city generates 1,500 tons of solid waste daily.
The Central Business District alone accounts for 250 tons and 60 per cent of it thrown around, according to a study by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Mr. Assibey Antwi says efforts to restore Kumasi to its glorious past will not be compromised.
“KMA we have started with enforcement. We arrested 11 [people] and the eleven we sent them to court and each of them had one-month imprisonment and the punishment was that in the morning, the environmental officers will go for them and they would be taken out to go and sweep,” Mr. Assibey Antwi said.
KMA recently launched a litter-free environmental campaign.
However, the negative attitude of residents is said to be hampering the fight against filth.
Mr. Assibey Antwi is worried the worst culprits of street littering in Kumasi are the literates.
“The studies have found out that even the worst offenders are not the illiterate ones, but the worst offenders are the literate ones and especially those who use cars; the private cars and the taxis and others. That is why anytime you are moving around, where you see the place deeply littered are the roadsides,” he posited.
He wants a change in attitude.
“If we are not keeping our environment clean, it means there is something wrong with our mind. Why do you want to create a waste in your house, just put them in black polythene bag, sit in a taxi and just throw it about,” he quizzed.
Meanwhile, Catholic Church is pledging support to government’s effort to protect the environment.
It seeks to identify effective strategies to address corruption, poor sanitation and abuse of the environment.
It will engage and support local authorities in accountability and development initiatives while encouraging its members to actively take part in such activities at all levels.
Rev Fr. Clement Kwasi Adjei who is the Director of Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of the Church says its clergy, lay members and ordinary members are expected to be involved in activities that seek to improve sanitation, fight corruption and environmental abuse.
“The Catholic Church cannot sit aloof but must act in accordance with her social doctrine.
This program will focus on corruption, sanitation and the environment and will mobilize the clergy, the lay faithful and other key stakeholders in the fight against these ills in our society,” he explained.