There’s Filth at Your Backyard – An Open Letter to the Vice Chancellor, UG – Legon

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Dear VC,
I am writing this letter to inform you that your backyard is in a mess; but let me use this opportunity to appreciate your efforts for allowing the construction of the GIMPA -Legon Botanical Gardens bypass road. This, I can say, has alleviated the intense Traffic jam which was on the Haatso-West Legon-Achimota road and has also exposed the boundaries of University of Ghana (UG), on the west side.

In the past few months that I have used the new by-pass, I have counted almost 10 waste dumping points on that stretch. Most of which you could clearly identify that it’s done at night. Two questions come to mind; is this mess caused by residents around that area? Or by waste collectors, converting the wonderful aerial view of the UG West Hills into a dumping site? Every morning in traffic on that stretch between the hours of 06:00am-08:00am, you don’t only see garbage in short intervals, you also see people trooping in and out of the bush going to ‘ease’ themselves. So disgusting!!! The place is gradually being converted to an open defecation site too. This does not befit a world class university.

What an unpleasant air, commuters have to inhale each morning when in traffic. I want to believe that the authorities at UG would not delay in taking action. Dear VC, I believe the fastest way forward is to quickly wall the entire boundaries from the GIMPA junction down to the Botanical Gardens along the by-pass. This is doable.

We want to continue to enjoy the greens and the lovely aerial view from the west side of the University of Ghana. Dear VC, please don’t just focus on the main entrance and the other entry points where UG electronic cards are needed before entry. Your backyard is in a mess!!!

Goal 15 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which talks about LIFE ON LAND, entreats that we protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reserve land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Humans and other animals rely on other forms of life on land for food, clean air, clean and water as a means of combatting climate change. Plant life makes up 80% of the human diet. Forests, which cover 30% of the Earth’s surface, help keep the air and water clean and the Earth’s

climate in balance. That’s not to mention they’re home to millions of animal species. But the land and life on it are in trouble. Arable land is disappearing 30 to 35 times faster than it has historically. Deserts are spreading. Animal breeds are getting extinct. We can turn these trends around. Fortunately, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2030.

According to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Accra generates nearly 900,000 metric tons of solid waste per year, approximately 67% of which is organic matter. The rate of waste generation is approximately 0.5 kilograms per person per day. Solid waste collection in Accra is mostly privatized

Informal waste disposal occurs in areas of Accra where there are no waste collection services. Informal solid waste disposal sites include abandoned stone quarry sites, gouged natural depressions in the ground, old mining areas, or man‐made holes in the ground. Open burning occurs at some of these open dump sites, particularly during the dry season.

All of Accra’s waste disposal sites are currently closed; the city has no waste disposal site of its own. Collected waste is currently transported from Accra to a landfill in Tema, approximately 37 kilometers outside Accra. The landfill was constructed to accept 700 tons per day, but currently receives more than double that amount (more than two‐thirds comes from Accra). The city recently entered into a contract for the construction of a new landfill, but a site has not been determined and financing is not certain. It is unknown whether the new landfill will include leachate and landfill gas collection systems.

These challenges I believe have motivated waste collectors to dump waste anywhere they deem fit; especially the private ones. I suppose it is not only the backyard of the University of Ghana that is gradually being converted to a dump site but other equally reserved areas as well. The quest to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa is far from reach but WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.

WRITTEN BY:

Emmanuel Odame Ofori
Concerned Citizen
eoamanfo@gmail.com

UNDERGRADFILE

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