12 January 2017
In the beginning I thought it was because of the restart of the school, but now I'm sure it's a daily fact. Every day, the first student of each class arriving here starts to sweep the classroom, even moving the desks to do so. For sure this is lovable, but the problem is that after lessons they were leaving a mess on the floor: piece of pencils, papers, packaging of food, plastic bags, ... Ok, they do clean the day after, but where does this garbage finish then?
I learnt this one of the first days, when I had to throw something. There's a big trash can near the kitchen and I was headed in that direction when Margaret shouted at me: "No, throw it there", pointing to a wide and not deep hole in the ground behind the urinal. Exactly, a hole, where the garbage is collected and then...burned. This happens in almost all the yards of the village. No need to say how dangerous this could be, both to the health and to the environment, poisoning the ground and risking to set the forests on fire (it happens really often).
Unfortunately the problem is nationwide caused by wrong government management. Solid waste is seen simply as something to be collected or to be made disappear and not as a potential resource. Just for you to know the companies working in this sector limit their activity to the collection of the waste (and just in few main cities), and the only composting and recycling plant was shut down in 2014 due to unfulfilled financial commitments by the government.
The problem is huge and, in a country where citizens have to struggle for almost everything they need to survive, heaps of waste piled up along the streets or accumulated in gutters will be the last thing they will think of.
I cannot do a lot other than teaching the kids not to leave anything on the floor after school and not to waste any piece of paper, hoping that this could help them to make a step in the right direction together with the future of Ghanaian solid waste management.