If the current generation is recalcitrant as far as good waste management practices and good sanitation are concerned, Ghanaians must focus our attention on the next generation.
There’s an aspect of developmental psychology that enables children to develop new abilities which further enhances their moral development. The moral development typically begins in early childhood as concern over and avoidance of acts that attract pain and punishment and progresses to a more general regulation of conduct.
The book of Proverbs 22:6 [NKJV] elaborates and I quote, “Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Obviously, people should be taught the ‘Waste Disposal Chain’ right from the onset – from infancy, childhood, or adolescence stage –before they reach adulthood or old age.
So where should children get such training? Well, some of the notable places include educational institutions, religious institutions, households, and media.
- Educational Institutions
Nursery schools, Primary schools, Junior High Schools (JHS) and Senior High Schools (SHS) are apparently the educational levels that accommodate children. In fact, it’s incumbent upon the Ministry of Sanitation & Water Resources to collaborate with the Ministry of Education as well as the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment so as to revise the curriculum by including the Waste Disposal Chain, and how to practice it effectively.
Specifically, adequate smaller size temporary storage units (waste bins), at least one at every corner, should be made available at the classrooms. Before that, children must have been trained or taught to understand that if he/she generates waste material of any kind, the first point of disposal site is the waste bin, but never on the ground. A child should be made to even sharpen a pencil right into a waste bin, but never on the ground.
Moreover, bigger waste bins should be placed at vantage points at the schools’ compound. Under no circumstance must a pupil or student drop a waste material at any other place other than the waste bins. Hence, sweeping of waste materials, apart from fallen leaves from trees, animals dropping or dust (in classrooms and on corridors), should be prohibited.
Ideally, waste bins should be provided in pairs or multiples to allow for sorting or segregating waste materials. For instance, recyclables – especially plastic wastes – should be put into separate waste bins from that of the other waste materials. As we can recall, the author stipulated in the “Fight Against Filth: Waste Disposal Chain – Part 1” that plywood, bamboo or any other material can also be used to design containers to augment the functions of plastic or metallic waste bins.
Again, the authorities of the various schools should, if feasible, contract or engage the services of competent waste collectors to buy recyclable waste materials (especially plastics) and/or empty waste bins (that houses non-recyclables) for disposal. Better still, the schools can set aside a disposal site – landfill or incinerator – to thoroughly bury or burn non-recyclable waste materials as highlighted in the previous article, “The Fight Against Filth: Waste Disposal Chain – Final Part”.
There must be rewards and punishments in the various schools with respect to rules or regulations governing the practice of the waste disposal chain. Rewards motivate students to participate in good practices whiles fear of punishment gets most students to follow clearly articulated rules.
Arguably, the Free Basic School and SHS program in Ghana can be termed to be highly successful if it imparts children to transform society in the next generation. The issue of filth has been a national canker since time immemorial but then, the current crop of children – enjoying Free Education up to SHS – must be trained now to provide a perpetual solution.
- Religious Institutions
According to the 2010 Ghana Population and Housing Census of approximately 24.7 million people, a total of 94.8% belong to a religious group. This implies that churches, mosques and shrines must also serve as a place where children should acquire knowledge and training on waste disposal chain.
Christianity, with the largest number of members in Ghana, has numerous churches across the length and breadth of this country, and gladly almost every church has children service. Therefore, adequate smaller size temporary storage units (waste bins), at least one at every corner, should be made available at the church auditoriums. Bigger waste bins should also be placed at vantage points around the church premises.
Church leaders have the responsibility to instill in children that indiscriminate littering is a sin against God. This is because filth directly or indirectly causes death or hardships to humanity and other living creatures that God has created. The children should be made to understand that the only way to prevent filth is adhering to the waste disposal chain by putting any waste material into the waste bin, but never on the ground.
Furthermore, Muslims have designated mosques for children to worship. Hence, every auditorium for children service or “Makaranta” must be provided with adequate smaller size temporary storage units (waste bins), at least one at every corner. Bigger waste bins should also be placed at vantage points around the mosque premises.
It’s necessary for Islamic Teachers (Mallams) to instill in children that indiscriminate littering is ‘haram’ in the sight of Allah. Throwing waste material anyhow causes filth which breeds mosquitoes or other harmful bacteria. The mosquitoes later cause malaria and the bacteria later cause cholera or diarrhea which kills the majority of people.
In addition, traditional settings can’t be left out in the training of children to uphold the waste disposal chain. Clearly, the gods and ancestors frown upon deliberate human activities that lead to filth. Traditional leaders must endeavor to inculcate in children that indiscriminate littering attracts curses from the gods and ancestors. It’s imperative that traditional leaders provide adequate waste bins to enable children to put various kinds of waste materials into them, but never on the ground.
It’s worthy to note that all the religious institutions must provide waste bins in pairs or multiples so that children can sort or segregate waste materials. Also, the religious leaders must either engage the services of competent waste collectors or create disposal sites to properly burn or bury non-recyclables, in accordance with the waste disposal chain.
Undoubtedly, the other places (households and media) where children can be trained are equally relevant, and the writer wishes to highlight them in the next article.
About The Author
Harry Sarfo Diko, popularly known as Jamigy Harry, is the sole proprietor of Idealoyal Enterprise – a registered business (with GhaClean as one of its objects of business). He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) Degree from the University of Cape. He’s much enthusiastic about Entrepreneurship and solving societal problems.