Thursday, March 26, 2009

What are you doing?

Readwide Ghana Limited, the major sponsors of the weekly “What Do You Know” quiz contest on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), did a very good job by focusing this week’s contest on environmental issues. The Sunday 22nd March edition of the popular contest was held in commemoration of World Water Day. The three-round contest focused on several topics related to water and its management. One question, to which none of the contestants was able to provide an answer, was: “In which ways can water pollution be compounded?” As usual, every subject area has its own wide array of terminologies. All the contestants assumed that “compounded” meant curtailed, prevented, reduced or solved, as their responses proved. Apparently, “compounded” in this context meant “worsened”. The National Quiz Master, Dan Afare Yeboah, therefore provided responses like; increasing population, urbanization and improper sanitation measures. At the end of the three-round keenly contested competition, Alhassan Hassan of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana topped with 21 points. Samuel of UEW, Samuel Dwumoh of CUC, Daniel Aboagye, formerly of UCC, and Swala Abubakari of UG were 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

So why would I write this on this blog. I believe it’s about time individuals, corporate society and the government took steps to improve water and environmental sanitation. I think that focusing an episode of the popular contest on water issues was a very good initiative worth commending.

However, there is a lot more that can be done. With only two months to the commemoration of the World Environment Day, the government, NGOs and private bodies can take several initiatives to promote the environmental sustainability agenda. Essay competitions focused on several aspects of environmental sustainability can be organized for the various levels of the education in Ghana, the results of which should not be left on the shelves. What about a national clean-up exercise on one Saturday in June? This may seem complex, but if the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei-Tutu II, could use one day to promote such an exercise in Kumasi, why can’t the rest of the nation do same?

The power of individuals is very important. Sometime in July 2008, my colleague, Emmanuel Kofi Gavu, who was then a Teaching assistant at the Land Economy Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (and now a masters student at ITC, Netherland), undertook project dubbed “Waste to Wealth”. He was able to sensitize some primary and junior secondary students of the Ayeduase Catholic School in Kumasi, Ghana, to learn how to convert waste into useful products. One of the primary pupils used rubber and polythene bags he had picked from the ground to produce a “soccer ball”. What if there were tools to make this ball a long lasting one? Wouldn’t that be helpful to the environment? Like Mr. Gavu, many individuals in Ghana and Africa can undertake similar and more advanced programmes to promote environmental sustainability.

My question to you as an individual is what are you doing to protect, conserve and sustain the environment? This June 5, what concrete activities will the government be undertaking, apart from the usual paper presentations on World Environment Days?

I congratulate Alhassan Hassan on winning the contest, and Mr. Gavu on the success of his project.

What are you doing about our environment?


Anonymous said...

Hey Kwesi, thanks for your post. Its really an exciting one. Once again I'm on the move here too, on trying to solve waste management issues in Philippi in South Africa. Will feed you in on further developments. I worked on ORGANIC RECYCLING.
- Mawuli-

Gameli Magnus Adzaho said...

Good initiative by the what do you know team and readwide. It's a pity such moves are not undertaken on a large scale. I only hope that in due time matters of the environment would be tackled more seriously on a large scale. Keep up the good work, Kwesi!