About four people received abetment letters when Public Health officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) stormed the timber market within the Odododiodoo Constituency.
Wednesday afternoon’s exercise set in motion the second phase of the Joy News Clean Ghana campaign which was suspended when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
From food stands invaded by flies to choked gutters next to these food stands, the officials were incensed by the level of disregard for the hygiene standards.
Director of Public Health at AMA, Florence Kuukyi said the first phase of the campaign was effective.
‘Some of the major markets in the Metropolis will testify of how useful the program was to them. For instance the Agbogbloshie market, Mallam market, Kaneshie market, and others, she said.
But on the first day of the second phase of the campaign, a lot more needed to be done.
The Environmental Officer of the AMA, Joseph Asitanga had to order some members of the community to immediately clear a choked gutter which was right in the middle of the market.
‘So we are putting them back into the drain, they should clear it right now and I will get a container to come cart it to an incinerator’, he said.
More from the first phase of the campaign Gutters filled with sludge were transformed into drains with clear running water and food vendors made a conscious effort to ensure meals they prepared for the public were done in a hygienic environment.
So the campaign had its successes. But it also came against some opposition. On one of the team’s rounds, a former assemblyman for Jamestown Joseph Addo incited residents against the Clean Ghana campaign team.
His reason? He feared the shutdown of some businesses flouting the environmental bye-laws in his area could make him unpopular, and with the district level elections insight, he could not afford to lose their much-needed votes.
So incensed was he that he assaulted JOYNEWS photojournalist David Andoh, destroying his camera.
But police secured summons for his arrest and the team continued its work.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic meant the campaign had to be suspended. With the lockdown in force, there was very little to inspect, and additionally, the environmental officials of the AMA were tasked to bury bodies ravaged by the virus.
The decision to suspend the campaign was in the interest of both parties and to, as much as possible, reduce the threat of transmission.
But after a one-year hiatus, the Clean Ghana campaign is set to return. Offenders of the city’s environmental bye-laws will be targeted once again as the campaign resumes, focusing on the impact of environmental waste in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s important to reiterate that the task of keeping the country clean is not the sole responsibility of a media house or a government agency.
It is critical for everyone to come on board to complement their efforts in ensuring that we make Ghana clean, one community at a time.