The University of Ghana is a world class and well respected place of academia and its vision “to become a world class research-intensive University over the next decade” proves there’s no stopping them now.
The University churns out thousands of brilliant young men and women each year and the last batch of the 2017 graduates received their honors over the weekend. I would like to salute each graduate; I believe it wasn’t easy. The journey must have been rough but they sailed through the nation’s premier university successfully and I encourage them to proceed with integrity as they join the corporate and real world.
To be a graduate implies that you have met the requirements of a particular course of study after which you are given a certificate based on merit from your various assessments throughout your stay at the institution. The graduation celebrations are therefore usually very important to mark the milestone you have achieved.
With family, friends and colleagues, graduates take to various parts of the University most often near the great hall down to commonwealth hall to eat and generally celebrate their achievement.
Sadly, one thing I’ve noticed and which disturbs me is the nature in which the celebration zones are usually left filled with filth and garbage almost everywhere and anywhere.
From, basic school, we are taught to keep our environment clean. Most often, school teachers resort to punishing culprits of littering the school compounds. With time, we learn to keep our environment clean but only when we are in school.
Nationally the former government tried to inculcate the culture of keeping our environment clean through the introduction of the national day of sanitation. We started it with enthusiasm but relaxed after a few weeks of active practice. This raises big questions concerning the environmental safety of Ghana and the future we have.
It is therefore not only an issue of the University of Ghana but a nationwide problem.
The current VC of the institution has in his plans of action to make the school campus ‘green’ and strides have already been seen from his part towards this vision. This is a move in the right direction and I support him.
Coming back to the issue of how graduation celebration zones are left dirty, filthy and undeserving to be called part of the University of Ghana, the problem is a more fundamental one emanating from our mindset of what waste is and what can be done with waste.
If this mindset is not broken, no progress can be made. Though, some of the graduates may have been worried about the state in which they were leaving the place, they had no means to dispose off the waste materials. So yes, the state of the place was the fault of both the graduates and the University.
On Sunday morning, workers came to clear up the place. You may think, okay so why write this post if you know that the mess has been cleared?
Well, as I said, the problem of waste management is one which originates from our mindset. That is what I want us to know. If we want to make changes concerning the waste problem and any problem for that matter, the beginning point is always with ourselves and no one else. You can’t force others to do what you don’t even practice yourself.
So the mantle lies on each one of us to make that change, now! Pick up that empty satchet you just dropped. Find a bin and throw it in or really, do anything but dropping it on the floor. If anything, we are ‘educated’ and we should do the right thing without being prompted to.
Written By Weguri Enoch, a volunteer with Technology Without Borders (TeoG) which runs a project called recycle up Ghana. Recycle Up Ghana aims to change the nation’s waste problem through local solutions.