Environmental Awareness-Key to sustainable city planning

I found this article which dates back a couple of years ago, but visiting Accra this year I find it very actual. In Accra I saw very little education on the meaning of development and especially sustainable development. It is interesting to read this from the voice of a local person….

“Many people perceive sustainable growth or development to be living in gated estates or houses and driving expensive cars.This is far from it, but very much the ability of humans to use natural resources meaningfully with future generations in mind.Often, we tend to forget that everything is connected on the planet and go on to disconnect ourselves from nature.For instance, natural resources such as parks, gardens and green areas are noted to help muffle noise from vehicular traffic and other activities with plants acting as filters for air pollution, but we do not put premium on these facilities.”

Read the full article here: Environmental Awareness-Key to sustainable city planning.


Unplanned communities and natural disaster

Glefe, a slum in the west side of Accra. The area gets heavily flooded about once a year. This picture is from June 10th 2014, when the community was flooded as a result of the combination of the spillage of the Weija Dam and the rain. The houses are literally built on the beach. The constructions are illegal, meaning that there is no planning and it is forbidden to build in this area. Residents here claimed the space for a short stay and not for residence, but eventually they settled there, about 7 years ago. There are no hospitals and public schools in the community, only private ones and those established by NGOs and volunteers (for a total of about 40 schools). There are no paved streets and no drainage system, and that is what caused the food and also made it difficult for the water to drain which in fact stayed there for many days. The area which is already difficult to reach regardless of the whether condition, became even more isolated . Glefe gets somehow flooded every time there is heavy rain but on June 10th as in other occasions in the past, the combination of the rain and the spillage made the situation even worse. Three people have died during the flood and some school remained closed for days because either they are flooded or children have fled.disaster

One of the worst issues in Accra: sanitation

Environmental challenge in the periphery of Accra, Ghana. This is Pambros, another slum in the western periphery of Accra. Here houses have been built spontaneously, completely unplanned. Dwellers are among the poorest in Accra and are mainly fisherman or sellers. Houses are built up to few meters away from the shore. There is no public waste collection system and solid waste accumulates in open gutters, where present, on the beaches and even in the sea. Gutters are chocked with filth. In the specific area pictured below, there are not even gutters because the area is not supposed to be residential, but the beach is almost entirely covered with waste,especially plastic. This is destroying the natural resources, namely the sea water and the shore. It brings also several diseases, considering also that the city water system does not reach this area, therefore dwellers have no running water but need to buy it and store it in tanks. The lack of running water also means few or no toilets and therefore the phenomenon of open defecation is very common in this area. The recent severe cholera outbreak in Accra was due especially to this sanitation issue.


Amedzofe & Tafi Atome

Lasciamo Keta per Amedzofe (via Denu e Ho) lunedì mattina, attendiamo il bus sulla strada principale. Dopo 30 minuti di attesa, Radka ha una brillante idea: rotolare uno dei tronchi dal lato opposto della strada e farne una panchina per i passeggeri in attesa del bus (cioe’ noi). Arriviamo ad Amedzofe dopo 4 ore di viaggio con 3 diversi mezzi. La Guesthouse dove abbiamo alloggiato é su una piccola salita a pochi minuti dalla piazza del villaggio. Ha una bella vista dal terrazzo del paesaggio collinare circostante. Continue reading

Rifiuti vs. Riciclo/Riuso

Primo giorno del semestre estivo e purtroppo la frequenza e’ stata bassa perche’ le lezioni estive non sono obbligatorie. La parte positiva e’ che ho potuto fare una lezione con tutti gli studenti perche’ erano riuniti tutti in una sola classe. Nella prima parte abbiamo parlato del riporre i rifiuti negli appositi contentori, e ho attirato la loro attenzione sulla segnaletica che ho messo nei giorni scorsi in giro per la scuola che ricorda di tenere pulito . La parte piu’ divertente e’ stata il riciclo creativo dei sacchetti di acqua! La maggior parte dei rifiuti abbandonati per strada e’ composta dai sacchetti neri della spesa e da questi sacchetti di acqua. In realta’ ci sono delle compagnie di riciclo della plastica che li comprano, e molti cercano di raccoglierli per venderli ma ce ne sono ancora molti abbandonati ovunque. Le possibilita’ di riciclo creativo di questi sacchetti sono pressocche’ infinite. Ho deciso di iniziare con la creazione di una rete da pallavolo, visto che vorrei anche che i ragazzi iniziassero a giocare a pallavolo, solitamente li si vede giocare solo a calcio, e qualche volta a hockey (pare che gli piacciano gli sport dove si corre e dove si usano i piedi). Non avevo molto tempo oggi e abbiamo solo imparato come tagliare i sacchetti e abbiamo iniziato l’intreccio, ma sono stati molto contenti e vogliono terminare il lavoro! Restate sintonizzati per avere aggiornamenti e vedere il risultato definitivo che sara’ sorprendente! ^_^

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Glefe: A settlement invaded by filth and a violent sea

Source:  Glefe. A settlement invaded by filth and a violent sea (GraphicOnline)

There is a long curve of water and, as far as the eye can see, there are shacks, ramshackle structures, scraps, piles of refuse, dead rats and a dozen children chasing a worn-out football. The water is greenish with multicoloured plastic litters, wood and uncountable worms.

Away from the nauseating stench from the greenish pool, a group of shirtless boys are busy at the beach, digging a pit to throw in rubbish tied in plastic bags.

Less than 50 metres away from the shore, there are dilapidated buildings whose owners have abandoned them to seek life’s prospects elsewhere.

This is not a fable but rather a real life situation at Glefe, a waterlogged slum near Dansoman in the Accra Metropolis.

The neighbourhood finds itself an unwelcome neighbour of the violent  sea and trapped in filth because city authorities have not done much to manage the waste in the area.


While its environment is stomach-churning, the meaning of its name is also on the scary side. A habitation for snakes known in the Ewe language as ‘Gle’,  the name of the community, according to the Chief of the Ewe and Ada community, Nii Amega Amedor II, means the “place of puff adder.”

Puff adders are venomous snakes that live in arid regions, swamps and dense forests. It is said to be common around human settlements.

There are different accounts of  how Glefe began but almost all the tales have the fact of a group of fishermen who were the early settlers in the 1970s and 80s.

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(by Seth J. Bokpe – GraphicOnline)