Everyone loves a good meal, new clothes, and the latest gadgets. But let me ask you this simple question, how do you dispose the packaging that comes with it? Your Koko rubber, shopping bags, water bottles, gift boxes and Waakye leaves cause problems for the environment when you don’t dispose of them properly?
Where did you throw your trash today?
That’s the big question that has been unearthed by a story published by one of the Ghanaian newspapers vividly narrating the story of Madam Theresa Buston and her family who lost everything on October 2 after what started as light showers on a normal day at their home in Kaneshie ended up being an unforgettable ordeal when suddenly, homes, shops and offices got flooded after hours of rain.
However, what has caught many people’s attention is the attribution of the flooding not to what many could assume was an act of God but rather, the wanton littering and improper waste management habits of people far away from Kaneshie that leads to clogging of drainage pipes and waterways.
While this humble family was struggling all night to save their belongings to no avail and keeping awake to watch the floodwaters that rose over a meter in their home, many of the ‘culprits’ who had littered weeks and even months ago and their trash ended up in Kaneshie were fully enjoying the comfort of their warm and dry homes.
Madam Theresa is quoted saying that on the fateful night, they “were swimming with the ‘borla’ because people throw rubbish into gutters and it chokes them.
She honestly can’t understand why we as Ghanaians are doing this to ourselves.
Although flooding in Kaneshie is not new, it is becoming more destructive because of Ghanaians’ poor waste management lifestyle of littering that has reduced the capacity of the main drain to contain flood waters as it is constantly choked with waste when it rains, especially plastic waste.
But where does this plastic waste come from? Isn’t it from our homes, our shops, our public spaces, our cars? Aren’t we the same people who complain when it floods?
It is estimated that more than 3,000 tons of plastic waste is generated daily in Ghana but barely 30% of it is properly collected and disposed or recycled.
As Theresa Buston and her family continue to suffer the effects of flooding aided by plastic waste, how do we work together to save the situation and prevent the regular heartbreaking experiences? We must ask #STOPTHETRASH.
When you buy that ice cream and fail to dispose of the wrapper properly, when it rains it will eventually end up in the drains. When you dump waste in the drains because you don’t want to spend on proper waste collection services, whenever it rains, the waste clogs the drains.
All the water bottles you consume in the trotros and thereafter throw out onto the street make a bad situation worse because all this sustained littering puts heavy pressure on our drainage systems and cause havoc more than eight kilometers away from where the actual littering took place.
So, where does your trash go?
When hundreds of women, children and families in Kaneshie are struggling to survive whenever it rains due to floods that may even cause death, you should remember that your littering and poor waste management practices and habits could be the cause of this.
Remember Theresa and others like her who won’t be able sleep, will lose her furniture, fridges, food, clothes, documents and other belongings.