Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called on Ghanaians to protect the environment by adopting community environmental vigilantism.
The former President said while no one supports thuggery and vigilantism, the need for responsible community vigilantes to protect the environment is an absolute must in combating the random but persistent and indiscriminate disposal of refuse.
He also called on opinion leaders such as pastors to use the pulpit and all public fora to “educate ourselves” on the scourge of poor environmental habits.
Speaking at the 2018 annual thanksgiving service of the Jospong Group of Companies, at the group’s headquarters in Accra on Friday, Flt. Lt. Rawlings said the complex nature of sanitation in Ghana requires the commitment of all Ghanaians.
New Year Resolution
“Our resolution as we go into the new year is to commit to keeping our environment clean by employing good disposal habits, serving as good citizens by policing our communities and standing up to errant ones who refuse to adhere to basic sanitary behavior,” the former president said.
Reliving the era of Town Council sanitation officers, the former president said during that period Ghanaians held a high sense of social responsibility. He said the disregard for good environmental habits had contributed to a dangerous rise in global warming.
Flt. Lt. Rawlings also harped on the harm of plastic waste on our oceans, disclosing that globally over eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste was dumped in the ocean annually. The situation, he indicated, had deteriorated so much so that marine organisms including fishes had started feeding on plastics.
“What this means is that those of us who consume fish as healthy form of food may very well be consuming plastics on a regular basis,” Mr. Rawlings said.
Former President Rawlings said while government had committed itself to the environmental problem by setting up the Ministry of Sanitation and opening the waste management portfolio to other companies, Ghanaians have to change their ways and desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse, reckless defecation on our coastline and the criminal dumping of refuse on the shoulders of roads.
Jospong was also commended for the provision of integrated waste management solutions, the employment of over 200,000 Ghanaians across all social strata and the establishment of waste treatment plants.
Flt. Lt. Rawlings confessed however that he was originally not happy with the operations of the company because he learnt a chunk of District Assembly budgets had been dedicated to it. He commended the current government for diversifying the refuse collection and management portfolio by opening it up to other companies.
The former President complimented the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group, Joseph Siaw Agyepong for his sense of industry and innovativeness, describing his humble beginnings as a sign of a man who had great business vision. He mentioned the expansion and diversification from waste collection to waste management solutions in converting solid and liquid waste into fertiliser and other useful byproducts as very admirable.