The SHAPE Attitude Experience Shared in Zambia

A Zambian TV station “Q-TV”, hosted the Director of SHAPE Attitude Ghana, Wonderful Baisie Ghartey on their Monday morning show on 29th October 2018 to share their experiences on environmental cleanliness. The host of the programme, Mr Nelson Zulu, asked about the objective of SHAPE Attitude Ghana and measures that Ghana has put in place to ensure environmental cleanliness was achieved.

The Director said SHAPE Attitude project is all about changing the mind set of the population in order that they would adopt positive attitude towards the environment and avoid indiscriminate littering, dumping of refuse and open defaecation. These negative practices are all health hazards which are costly to the nation.  As a project that deals with behavioural change, children from age 4 in schools, churches and other civil societies constituted the primary target group. It was the hope that they would grow up with positive attitude towards environmental cleanliness. The project has contributed to cleanliness on school compounds and communities in the town where the pilot phase of the project was being implemented.

On questions relating to burning of plastics at home, banning the use of plastics by super markets, policies/laws on littering and the role of the central and local governments, the Director responded that burning of plastics at household level was not an option to adopt because it was not healthy since it polluted the air. He suggested improvement in the collection system to a central dumping grounds to be a better option. A ban in the use of plastics would be the ultimate solution to the proliferation of plastics but in the short term, reduction in their use could be a way forward. In that respect, the one time use of plastics should be introduced in the short term. As regards policies/laws, the Director said there were laws in place regarding improper disposal of refuse including littering Ghana. However, the enforcement of the laws has not been encouraging.  As to the question of continental solution to the plastic pollution, the Director agreed with such an approach but emphasised that much as a common solution was good, it would require specific interventions and strategies at country level. Most importantly, monitoring, evaluation and reporting was critical in ensuring the success of any common solution that would be adopted at continental level, Mr Ghartey said.

Mr Ghartey touched on the measures adopted by the Ghana Government to tackle sanitation which included the establishment of a Ministry for Sanitation with a full time Minister in charge. There was also the monthly clean-up campaign across the whole country.

The host of the programme Mr Nelson Zulu shared the experience of Zambia where the Government had adopted measures similar to what Ghana was doing. Mr Ghartey commended the state of cleanliness in the city, Lusaka, and indeed along the road to the south and north about 200 kilometres out of the city. Notwithstanding the impressive cleanliness, he noted that there were isolated cases of littering which he advised should be tackled before it got out of hand.

The interview was arranged by the courtesy of Ms Vainess Mfungwe, a former colleague from the World Health Organisation.


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