AMA’s ultimatum to poster plastering – Why not extend to street hawking?

The cartoon by Daavi on page 19 of the March 9, 2019 issue of the Daily Graphic caught my attention. The cartoon centred on the Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s (AMA) recent ultimatum to advertisers and their agents to cease plastering posters on billboards, walls and electricity poles by the roadside due to their untidiness.

Daavi’s cartoon of March 9, therefore, was a reminder to the general public and perhaps specifically to defaulters that the ultimatum had 12 more days to go before AMA took action against any who stood accused.

They take a lot away from the beauty and sanity of our cities and towns and paint a picture of lawlessness and disorder. It is good, therefore, that AMA is acting sooner, though long overdue, in view of the fact that they have by-laws with which they could have stood their grounds before we got to this stage. But of course, it is better late than never.

It beats comprehension that we have such beautiful laws to guide and protect us and the environment, yet our regulators and law enforcers sometimes prefer to keep them under wraps rather than apply them. We watch on as lawlessness and impunities mount up and hem us in. As the AMA has led the way, we need all of our local government structures, specifically the other metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to follow suit and help us stem acts of lawlessness to bring holistic beauty, sanity and order in our cities, towns and villages.

The rains are threatening and anyone who drove through some parts of Accra last Sunday and yesterday, after the dawn downpours would have noticed the filth forced outfrom the open drains onto the streets and pavements. It was clear that for some of the roads and streets, the filth that the early dawn rains brought out were indiscriminate rubbish as the result of street hawking.

Street hawking

Risks to lives

Thorny as the issue of street hawking may be as some have argued that they provide jobs for the unemployed youth, the more we keep quiet about it, the more we are condoning the wrong. How about formally engaging these people as sanitation officers?

It is time for the AMA to engage the help of law enforcers to clear hawkers from our roads, starting with ceremonial roads within the heart of the city. That is after an ultimatum has been given and minds prepared about the consequences of their daily engagements.

If something as huge as illegal mining is wrong and harmful both to the lives of perpetrators and the environment, so also is something as small as street hawking. We are putting lives at greater risk, polluting the environment and stalling beauty and sanity in our surroundings.

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