Residents of Akplabanya in the Ada West district in the Greater Accra Region are filling the Akplaba lagoon with refuse in their ill-mannered bid to reclaim it for real estate development.

One is welcome to the fishing town with the outlandish sight of an algae surfaced lagoon laced with polythene bags, sachets and bottles.

The shores of the lagoon which is a thriving breeding ground for mosquitoes, is lined with several huts,  firewood, and ‘Chorkor smokers’ as women of the town who are predominantly fishmongers, smoke fish for the market.

Mr Amos Dotse Kwao, Assembly Member for the Akplabanya Electoral Area, told the Ghana News Agency that more than half of the residents of the town were filling the lagoon with refuse after which they would seal it with sand.

According to Mr Kwao, the residents, who complain about the sea gradually eroding their settlement, were busily filling to reclaim the lagoon to build on it, a practice he agreed was dangerous.

He, however, added that the town used to flood whenever it rained but such perennial floods had drastically reduced  after a private salt winning company  blocked water from Okumagbe town, which is uphill, to create artificial salt ponds.

On the issue of sanitation, he noted that residents of the densely populated town hardly dumped refuse into the community refuse containers provided by the Assembly because they preferred dumping it into the lagoon to quicken the reclamation process.

He added that the people only participated in community clean-up exercise “when they are in the mood”.

He appealed to government to build a sea defense wall  at the Akplabanya shores to save the town the menace of  tidal waves, and also called for the construction of a landing beach  to boost  fishing in the community.

Touching on other challenges of the town, he complained about the irregular flow of water in the area as he said “water often passed through their taps weekly and the event happens mostly at midnight.”

Mr Kwao also stated that despite its high population and sanitary conditions, the town lacked a Community-Based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) noting that the community leaders were planning on building a health centre for the area.

Mr Maxwell Huago, The Project Director of Akplabanya Divine Healers Child Development Centre of Compassion International, described the town as very filthy.

Mr Huago corroborated the Assembly man’s complaints of residents showing apathy during cleanup exercises as they preferred siting or idling about unconcerned and watching members of Compassion International clean and fumigate the area.

He added that health reports on children in the town to his outfit indicated that majority of them suffered from malaria and other sanitation related diseases, a situation which had led to them to intensify sanitation and hygiene education among residents.

He appealed to traditional and opinion leaders in the town to unite and encourage their residents to take sanitation issues serious to help improve their health.

Source: GNA