Paulina Opoku-Gyimah says: Mercy!!!!!! I remember a hundred years ago when my father started building his house back home in Accra, Ghana -and we got talking about the plans, the layout etc etc -and then came a piece of news that shocked and rocked me to my core!!!
In passing my father mentioned a tank (I don’t think he called it man hole -but he might as well have for all the horror this tank thingy filled me with).. -And this tank will be where all the [human] waste will go [and sit/gather] after we flush the toilet (????).
I must have exclaimed, shouted out or whatever because my father felt the need to explain this hideous piece of news -further. And further and further…
“So you mean to tell me that even though you are building this beautiful (and very, very, very, very expensive, -anything over £5.00 is very, very, very expensive to daddy, so a house is monumentally -so) house in chichi East Legon -and even though you can flush the toilet (yippee…) -all the [human] waste will collect in a septic tank -where it will sit and gather -and you will add chemicals and it may stay for around five years -before a man who collects poop -will come and take it all away.” Mercy …Africa!!!
Well that was then -and this is now, and nothing much has changed.
Its sooo disheartening to know that due to the lack of infrastructural progress since our beloved Kwame Nkrumah’s rapid industrialization of Ghana, -that most of the new chichi houses/apartments/gated communities and some of those fancy houses in and around Accra -which are full of fashionable, elegant, well travelled people who are -honestly, -still sitting on top of their own shit!!! And you’ve got to laugh otherwise what is the alternative? Cry? Do something about? Get the government to do something about it? Really???
Sometimes I think about all those politicians sitting in their fefefe houses with their stinky septic tanks bubbling away underneath them -and wonder why they feel no shame???
Can you imagine having all that power in 2012? -All that access to your own nation’s GDP (their own personal bank accounts -they thinks) and the rest!! -Travelling the world, meeting other world leaders who go home to cities that are unaffected by power cuts, and houses that house toilets -that when flushed, -carries its waste -far, far away, down the sewer -to a civilised place where its treated. Can you image as a politician, eating the best food, wearing the most expensive [designer] clothes, strolling around your city, shopping in that one chic shopping mall, -calling yourselves ministers (ministers of what I wonder) -and having to go home to a house (I’m sure they are lovely and full of treasures) that isn’t connected to a sewer that carries your waste away to a sewage treatment plant, can you imagine? Nor can I!!!
P.s it just crossed my mind that there are some houses in the Tema area that are connected to a sewage system but as my son’s father just pointed out, -their [human] waste is going directly into the sea without any treatment …oh Ghana, oh oh Africa!!! One step forward, twenty steps back!!! But we will get there, we will make it.
Prompted by my need to find out more about sanitation or the lack off in Accra/Ghana -I stumbled upon the following via the
“The centre of Accra has a significant sewerage system, but this is currently non-functional. This was a World Bank-funded system completed in 1973, covering 1000 ha and including 28.5 km of sewers. In 1997, World Bank expert Albert Wright described this system as “a classic example of unaffordable services [for] prospective beneficiaries”, and states that the system never worked well “because of narrow and crooked streets and below-standard housing and plumbing”. Only 6.5% of the target of 2000 household connections was achieved. A UASB wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was built to serve this network at James Town (Achimota) in 2000; on handover to the AMA the following year, it soon became dysfunctional, for reasons including low inflow and poor management; see Awuah & Abrokwa (2008) and Norman (2009). This plant is currently reported to be practically non-operational. Accra proper also has diverse other small sewerage systems, nearly all dysfunctional: notably systems in the Dansoman area and in the Legon area (university campus). There is also a sewerage system in Tema, constructed in the 1960s, and discharging to a lagoons-based wastewater treatment plant and then the sea; however, this system is likewise in a very poor state of repair, and the treatment plant is at present basically non-operational, with wastewater discharged directly to the sea (Awuah et al. 2008b).”
To read the rest of this report or to find out how Accra compares to other cities in Africa visit: http://www.iwawaterwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Articles/2%29+ACCRA+%28Ghana%29+3 -its such an eye opener!!!!!