Sunday, January 13, 2013
Sustainable foolishness ... green lunacy
Dongomi! Dongomi! Dongomi! Green is now the new global business. In Ghana, it is even more of the new business. "Pure water" po nfa ni hu. (trnsltn: Pure water business better go find a beach to lay on). It’s so attractive not because it is such a business for most of those in it, but because, to them, it's just another phase of career options. Everyone is “going green”, everyone is collecting plastic, paper, shit (yes, you read right) … let’s go do some too, dude. And so, we have those collecting the pure water satchets and turning it in for a neat little sum, those sewing together the snippets of fabrics the tailors usually throw out and reselling them in the now very popular "asasaa", those making accessories and items out of plastic discards in the trail of Trashy Bags, the (foreign) companies acquiring human faecal and urine matter to generate biogas, those of them involved in bio-projects, but more disturbingly, those who are doing all of it in the hopes of making a quick buck.
God bless 'em! The streets are now cleaner and free of most plastic waste, we have less faeces being dumped into the sea, we have a new vibrant phase in our fashion industry, we have more unique products on the market, and we are getting some foreign investment to help dispose of our own waste!
We have young, old, middle-aged; foreign, Ghanaian; tycoons and CEOs, job-seekers, fresh graduates, young dreamers ... all charging for green/eco/bio opportunities in the country.
As at 2010 and 2011, I was so excited about this, figuring that the worst that could happen was for the country to benefit from the activities, and for them to rub off on all of us, especially those who litter most, and cause a sustainable decrease in those negative activities; also, to give us more options for our lighting and fuel. But 2012, and (the horror) 2013 sees a vibrant green economy with very little green education, advocacy, policies, platforms, and sustainable impact on the people and the environment; even more expensive petroleum and the ever-irregular electricity supply. Yes, the EPA of Ghana did well last year to put out a lot of radio adverts (and newspaper and television too) on NOT tossing rubbish and waste into the gutters, bushes, on the ground, and other despicable behaviours. I was very happy to see this because it changed a fair number of Ghanaians, and it is something they MUST continue. But how consistent has this been? Have they collated feedback to improve or change tactics? Are people learning? Can anyone who needs to dialogue with them find welcome or have an easy time getting responses? Will they share their findings with the public?
How many of the entities doing the waste disposal, biogas projects, cleaning the cess-points of the country, etc have community forums and engagements to let the people know what is being done, why it has to be done, and teach them how to reduce that kind of waste/waste disposal?
Why do several countries and entities, especially the Ministry of Energy, feel that it is funny for them to keep competing with themselves to announce the start of the biggest, most ambitious solar-farms and solar projects ever in Ghana, and never get seen again? Do they think we have the same funny-bones as them? I don’t think we do because we aren’t laughing yet.
Even worse, there is the Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology and the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources. 3 ministries that each hold a responsibility to an aspect of the country’s environmental and green issues. Full stop. Looking at me for an expansion of that point? Yeah, me too.
Should they not be identifying young, radical but efficient Ghanaians working on environmental issues and make some funds and training available for some of their projects or ideas, and monitoring them through the years? How about training people in Community Leadership with focus on Waste/Bio/Green Energy & Fuel issues so they facilitate dialogue, ideas, and technology actualizations in neighbourhoods and school campuses? How about urging Ghanaians to be each other’s keeper, and point out to people who litter that it is wrong and they must not keep doing it? How about BANKS GIVING LOANS FOR GREEN ENERGY?! We see y’all crooking your darn fingers at us, and crooning love-songs of loans for nails, lipstick, shoes, cars, weddings, schoolfees, and holiday trips, yes we do!
Everyday, I see well-dressed men, respectable-looking women, sexy ladies, grown-up couples, greasy-looking thugs and homeless-looking women dropping litter JUST LIKE THAT. Like they breathe. So easily. I see schoolchildren walking and dropping food litter on the ground without so much as caution or fear that adults are around. I ALWAYS berate as softly as possible, and if the person’s reaction calls for it, then I pull out my big fierce attitude and hammer home. Yes indeed. Wharumean? Nansins.
You all should learn to be environmentally conscious. And it’s about time we call on the government to begin making firm plans for the country’s future starting now – less littering, educate on waste disposal, PROVIDE waste disposal facilities, give us alternatives for lighting, fuel, and energy and put a heart into GREEN.ENVIRONMENT.ECO.BIO.SUSTAINABILITY.RECYCLING.WASTE.issues.
Filth is becoming us too easily. All the excuses of “But, they sweep here everyday!” … “This is the gutter, not your living room for goodness’ sake!” … “Leave me alone, crazy lady!” … “What are you gonna do? Beat me?” … “Please Madam I am sorry. (Pause) I cannot put my hand in the gutter to pick it.” … “Please okay. (squeezes face and gives me a middle finger when I turn my back)” and best of all, the notion that they have tossed the trash away from themselves, so they are okay, but do not realise that if they want it far away from themselves, nobody else does either; all these must change to “I will put in the dustbin when I get home/office/where I am going” … “I will poop and dig a hole in the ground and bury it WELL, without a plastic bag” … “I will know where to take my household disposables and e-gadgets” ... "I will learn to save energy and/or use it wisely, no matter if I am rich enough to buy a continent".
… or are we just a bunch of weak-minded, shallow-disciplined plebs? *hiccup*