By Ishmael J. Abudu
In Akplabanya, a small community east of Accra, the ground is covered in garbage, including plastics and human waste.
Residents of Akplabanya, which is located on a peninsula between the sea and the Akplaba lagoon in Ada, dump their waste into the water, causing sanitation and even health problems.
Elizabeth Tetteh, who lives in the community, said the swampy and polluted conditions allow malaria-causing mosquitoes and cholera-causing flies to breed.
According to Mr. Anthony Yao Klokpa, the district chief executive of Ada West District, the residents “think they can use the rubbish to create land from the stream, but as they do that they are causing sanitation problem.”
Klokpa said that because a lot of people are living in a small area, residents were “fighting hard” to reclaim more plots of land from the stream for habitation and commercial activities.
He said residents took their own initiative to dump the waste into the stream as part of an “experiment” to reclaim land.
But according to a 2010 report by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, residents of Akplabanya have also been throwing their garbage in makeshift dumps and around the Akplaba lagoon basin because of the lack of a formal refuse collection system.
The report also said that because of the lack of toilet facilities, 61% of residents defecate in the bush or along the beach.
Klokpa said officials were working to mitigate the adverse situation, and that 90% of the area’s Member of Parliament’s (MP) common funds goes into sanitation management.
“We’re just doing our best,” he said.
He noted that there had been several educational campaigns on sanitation in the area, and that dustbins and three toilet facilities had been provided for the people.
According to Dr. Philip Narh, a medical practitioner at the Dangme East District Hospital the most common sicknesses reported to the hospital were malaria and cholera. Narh said patients often reported late to the hospital and by then their sickness had worsened.
This story was produced as part of Faces of Ada, a multimedia project undertaken by students at the African University College of Communications (AUCC).