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Reviving Ghana’s Cleanliness: A Call to Action for Citizens and Authorities

Indiscipline has taken root in the attitudes of many Ghanaian citizens, leading to a drastic decline in the “Keep Ghana Clean” campaign. Our gutters and neighbourhoods are now engulfed in filth. It’s time to address this urgent issue. Mother Ghana is watching us, and she sees how dirty we have become as a people. Why can’t Ghana emulate a country like Rwanda? What has gone wrong? It’s not everything that we should blame our president for; we must work on our attitudes as citizens, and law enforcement authorities must wake up. Our country is in a mess.

This mess is not just a superficial one; it runs deep into the fabric of our society. The accumulation of waste in public spaces is symptomatic of a broader issue of neglect and indifference. This indiscipline is evident in how we treat our environment, from the streets of Accra to the smallest villages. The sight of overflowing bins, plastic bags strewn across markets, and clogged drainage systems has become alarmingly common. Such conditions are not only unsightly but also create breeding grounds for pests and diseases, jeopardizing public health.

  • Lack of Civic Responsibility

There is a decline in civic duty among citizens. Improper waste disposal is rampant, with little regard for the environment. Many individuals see waste management as solely the government’s responsibility, not recognizing their role in maintaining cleanliness. This attitude is due to a lack of public education on environmental stewardship and the consequences of poor waste management. The disconnect between individual actions and their cumulative impact leads to widespread apathy.

  • Inadequate Infrastructure

Waste management infrastructure has not kept pace with population growth and urbanization. Insufficient waste bins, irregular collection services, and poorly maintained drainage systems worsen the problem. In urban areas, waste collection is often sporadic, leading residents to improper disposal methods. Rural areas face greater challenges with limited access to services and facilities. The lack of recycling facilities and programs further hampers sustainable waste management.

  • Weak Enforcement of Sanitation Laws

Sanitation laws are not adequately enforced. People often flout regulations, knowing penalties are rarely applied. Enforcement agencies lack the resources and support needed to carry out their duties effectively. Corruption and bureaucratic inefficiencies undermine law enforcement, leading to minimal consequences for violators. This lack of accountability creates an environment where littering and illegal dumping become norm6alized behaviours.

  • Public Apathy

A general sense of apathy prevails among the populace. Many do not see the immediate benefits of cleanliness, lacking motivation to change behaviour. This apathy is due to a lack of awareness about the long-term impacts of environmental degradation. The overwhelming scale of the problem leads to feelings of helplessness, where individuals believe their efforts won’t make a significant difference. Overcoming apathy requires raising awareness, educating the public, and fostering collective responsibility.

Lessons from Rwanda

 Rwanda offers a compelling example of how a nation can transform its cleanliness standards. Once plagued by similar issues, Rwanda is now renowned for its clean streets and orderly urban environments. This transformation can be attributed to several key strategies:

Rwanda’s success in environmental cleanliness is due to:

  • Strong Political Will and Leadership: Under President Paul Kagame, the government has shown a firm commitment to environmental cleanliness, setting a strong example and backing policies with necessary infrastructure and resources.
  • Community Participation: The monthly Umuganda program requires all able-bodied citizens to participate in communal cleaning activities, fostering collective responsibility, social cohesion, and community engagement with local leaders.
  • Strict Enforcement of Laws: Rwanda rigorously enforces sanitation laws with heavy fines and penalties for non-compliance. Well-equipped enforcement agencies and a comprehensive legal framework ensure effective waste management and public discipline.

Steps Ghana Can Take

To address the decline in cleanliness standards, Ghana can adopt strategies inspired by Rwanda’s success:

  • Revitalize Political Commitment: Leaders should prioritize cleanliness and environmental health through policies, budget allocations, and public involvement, demonstrating the importance of a clean environment to inspire nationwide action.
  • Promote Civic Responsibility: Intensify educational campaigns to instil a sense of civic duty from a young age. Schools, community groups, and influencers should advocate for cleanliness, and public recognition should be given to those who demonstrate outstanding commitment.
  • Enhance Infrastructure: Invest in robust waste management infrastructure, including waste bins, regular collection services, and modern technologies like recycling facilities. Public-private partnerships and sustainable urban planning are also essential.
  • Strengthen Law Enforcement: Enforce sanitation laws strictly with trained law enforcement agencies, significant penalties, specialized environmental courts, and measures to ensure transparency, accountability, and combat corruption.

The Role of Citizens

While government initiatives are crucial, the responsibility also lies with the citizens. It’s not enough to wait for directives from above; we must take personal responsibility for our surroundings. Simple actions, such as properly disposing of waste, participating in community clean-up efforts, and educating others about the importance of cleanliness, can make a significant difference. Every individual has a role to play in maintaining a clean environment, and small actions, when multiplied across the population, can lead to substantial positive change.

Cultivating a culture of cleanliness begins with education and awareness. Parents and schools should teach children from a young age about the importance of environmental stewardship and responsible waste disposal. Community leaders and influencers can use their platforms to advocate for cleanliness and model responsible behaviour. Media campaigns can highlight the impact of littering and pollution on health, the economy, and the environment, making the case for why everyone should care about maintaining a clean Ghana.

Highlighting these successes in the media can inspire a broader cultural shift towards valuing and prioritizing environmental cleanliness. Awards and incentives can be given to neighbourhoods that consistently maintain cleanliness, creating healthy competition and encouraging more communities to join the effort.


The current state of cleanliness in Ghana is a pressing issue that demands immediate and sustained action. By drawing lessons from Rwanda and implementing a multifaceted approach, we can restore the effectiveness of the “Keep Ghana Clean” campaign. This requires the concerted efforts of the government, communities, and individual citizens. Mother Ghana is watching us, and it is our duty to rise to the challenge, clean our neighbourhoods, and take pride in our beautiful nation once again. It is time to act, for the health of our people and the legacy we leave for future generations.



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