It’s about five o’clock in the morning after our usual morning devotion; we got into our sports gear and stepped out for our usual weekend jogging. We have already debated the night before on where to go for this exercise and Consuella, my beloved, won through a tossed coin game. I had no option than to move to the beautiful Duakro ocean view located on the stretch road of Cape Coast Elmina highway, in-between the University of Cape Coast and Iture, a suburb of Elmina.
My initial decline was owing to the fact that open-defecation on the shores of our coasts does not make it very convenient to go jogging and do some physical exercise smoothly without stepping into the expected or sighting a fellow human openly defecating on our beautiful shores.
On our way, I tried to persuade Consuella to change her mind concerning the proposed location. I went to the extent of exaggerating the possible dangers we might be exposed to should we maintain the Duakro location but she was insistent. Finally, we got there and to my surprise, a lot of Coconut trees which used to beautify the shores, protect our environment against global warming and provide us with healthy fruits, have been cut down and in its place huge bamboo sheds have been erected to possibly promote promiscuity and serve as a source of income to some few individuals.
I wondered how these individuals got the permit to erect such structures without the usual “stop building” signs we see on structures which are being built without the notification of the assembly. I asked Consuella why the municipal would permit such structures and whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ghana Tourist Board have not seen such structures being erected.
From all indications, these structures are not going to be used as hotels but drinking spots and restaurants. Is it that, now, innovation has turned into imitation, in that, when someone seems to be doing well in a business, others try to jump into same business without considering risk factors involved? Have all these people, including those who might have issued the permit, considered the dangerous effects of these drinking bars and restaurants and the threats they pose to the main Accra Takoradi highway? What of the thousands of lives which might be lost in the absence of sea defence and the presence of sea waves as these individuals win the sand to support their structures?
To satisfy my curiosity, I decided to have a chat with two gentlemen I sighted in one of the uncompleted bamboo structures who seem to have passed the night there. They told me the erection of the bamboo structures have minimized open defecation along the coast since owners of these structures have employed people to protect the coast and sack all individuals who come over to openly defecate.
I thought to myself, has the assembly become so weak to the extent of not protecting its environment but rather seek to solve one problem by creating a thousand others? According to Fiifi, one of the two gentlemen I was interacting with, their bosses have gone through all the legal processes of “acquiring” the area to erect those sheds. He said the authorities understand the state of unemployment in the country and as part of the private partnership initiative of the government, these drinking bars and restaurant, when they fully come into operations, will provide employment to a lot of Ghanaians and also serve as a recreational sight for the countries citizenry.
As dumbfounded as I was, Fiifi told me that they were asked by the authorities to plant coconut trees in place of those they have destroyed. He further went on to say that, plans are far advanced to get some life jackets and security agents around to protect lives and properties during festive occasions along the coast. Amazingly, throughout the over one hour discussion with Fiifi and his friend, we didn’t sight anyone openly defecating along the coast.
Are these businesses that are springing up going to solve the canker of open defecation and therefore should be allowed to stay or should it be stopped with immediate effect because our coasts and beautiful natural scenery are being depleted? This is a question we all have to answer sincerely and the right thing should be done and done well.