Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm 55 and "brown" - I need to get "green"

Hello my children,

Today is my birthday, and you my children are celebrating me in grand style. I love it. Awww, see the march of the special forces and school children, ain't that awesome?

I have come far oh, 55 solid years. But for some simple reason today I'm not very happy with you my children. I have allowed you to put several people in charge of affairs, but have not been impressed with their output and your contributions as well.

At 55, there are several times you allow me to go dark because you have not handled my power issues well. I have given you abundant supply of sunlight all these years, but you have not converted it to solar energy to power even low-consumption but critical services like traffic lights. Some of your siblings are dead because of this.

I have supplied you with many water bodies, but the best you do with them is dump refuse and toxic waste in it, killing my aquatic plants and animals. Last week, I heard that some of you are using treated mosquito nets (meant for malaria prevention) to go fishing. When I asked some you why you are doing this, you threw a question back at me "Which is better, dying from starvation or dying from malaria"? You are sick!

Every year when I give you rain, it causes floods, destroying peoples' homes and valuable property, and most importantly I lose some of you as well. You keep building on water courses and your agencies responsible for checking these have become toothless bulldogs, collecting bribes and allowing anything to happen. Some of you pile domestic waste and dump them in the rains and open gutters, expecting the rains to carry them away.

Some of you the learned ones are even the worst culprits. You drink water and throw the sachets right onto the streets. You just don't care.

Your poor sanitation costs me $290 million per year! At 55, 4.63 million of you do not have latrines and defecate in the open, while 16.34 million use unsanitary or shared latrines,  costing me over $79 million. Do you know that approximately 13,900 of you adults and 5,100 or your children under five die each year from diarrhoea, out of which nearly 90 per cent is directly attributed to sanitation and water problems?.

Some of you are consuming energy and wasting resources as if I don't suffer to bring them to you. You leave your homes to work without turning off your lights and electrical appliances. You have built terrible houses and offices that have poor ventilation so you always need air conditioners and lights during the day. When brushing your teeth, taking your bath or doing the dishes, you open the taps from the start and leave them running until you are done. You don't care about how much water is used for this or that because you have the money to pay for it.

As Nana Kobina Nketia V of Esikado said at last Saturday's Barcamp, some of you are chopping down all the trees. For whom and for what? In whose interest are you destroying the environment? Between 1990 and 2005, you cut down 4.7 million acres of forest which represents 1.8 percent loss per year, one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Out of 8.3 million hectares of high forest that existed in the past ten years, only about 1.6 million hectares is available now. What developmental projects can you even boast of to warrant this indiscriminate felling of trees?

So with all these you are doing how can I meet my Millennium Development Goals, especially the one on sanitation?.  You stubborn children have turned me brown and it's about time you changed your attitudes and took my environmental concerns seriously.

Today I'm 55 and dirty, and wretched, and my traffic lights are not working, and my power is erratic, many parts of my land is filled with stench, polythene here, polythene bags there, rubbish everywhere, open gutters, open refuse dumps in the markets, people selling foodstuffs at gutter mouths..and...oh..why? ..sob..sob, sob... :(

My birthday wish is simple - change your attitudes and wish me a greener future. Stop doing anything that's destroying the environment. And you people in charge of my children, my land and resources, stop the greed and politicization of every issue and get the job done!

God bless my homeland Ghana, and make my nation green and strong....