Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye (3rd left with a shovel) and some members of the church during the sanitation campaign to rid the country of filth
The Church of Pentecost (COP) has started a massive national sanitation campaign to rid the country of filth.
The campaign focuses on education to engender attitudinal change towards improved sanitation, a push for law enforcement and the provision of facilities to promote efficient waste management.
The initiative is being executed on a multi-stakeholder strategy involving policy makers at the national and the local levels, traditional rulers and faith-based organisations (FBOs) to improve the sanitation situation in the country.
The initiative, dubbed: “Environmental Care Campaign”, is in partnership with the ministries of Sanitation and Water Resources, Environment, Science,
Technology and Initiative metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies as well as the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA).
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday, the Chairman of the COP, Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye, explained that the campaign was one of the pillars of the church’s five-year strategic plan to transform society.
“As a church, we are concerned about the built environment; we are concerned about our atmosphere, noise pollution, pollution of our water bodies and the filth that has engulfed the country,” he said.
He added that transforming lives and society was not an agenda for only the government but rather a collective responsibility.
He called on all Ghanaians to see good sanitation as their primary responsibility and rise up to be counted in the sanitation drive.
He said the repercussions of poor sanitation knew no boundaries, for which reason sanitation issues needed to be approached without political, religious or other colouration.
“The sanitation challenge is not about offerings and tithes that churches would want to have alone; it is about tackling mosquitoes, and mosquitoes bite everyone, irrespective of whether one is a Pentecostal, Catholic or Muslim,” Apostle Nyamekye stressed.
He said the government’s agenda to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa required that all FBOs, chiefs and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) must work together to make it possible.
He stressed that even as efforts were being made to educate people on the need to change their attitude towards sanitation, it was equally important for the right facilities and systems to be put in place to discourage people from littering.
“Sometimes, people do not want to litter for its sake; they do so because there is nowhere to drop rubbish. If we provide the structures, people can be made to act with responsibility,” he said.
For his part, the General Secretary of the COP, Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, called on members of the public to change their attitude towards the environment.
He said it was important for all actors at the community level to get involved in the campaign to rid the country of filth, right from the community level.
He said the essence of the campaign was not just to clean but also call for an attitudinal change and “let people know that we have a divine duty to protect the environment”.
“We have to rethink the way we do things and be conscious of the fact that we do not have to destroy our water bodies or forests. We have to protect what God has given to us because if we are not careful, posterity will judge us unfavourably,” he said.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi explained that chiefs, market queens, leaders of transport unions and people in other sectors of society had been engaged to buy into the campaign.
Additionally, he said, the COP had liaised with MMDAs for committees to be set up to ensure that by-laws were implemented to the letter to sustain the campaign.
“We know that in Ghana everybody knows somebody, but for this one, even if you know somebody, do not go and mess up and when you are arrested, you bring a ‘big man’ to come and plead,” Apostle Kumi-Larbi said.
He stressed naming and shaming as a tool to deter people from littering the environment.
The COP launched the Environmental Care Campaign in 2018 as part of a five-year strategic plan to rid the country of filth.
It is on the theme: “Possessing the nations”.
The first phase of the campaign saw the church partner the ESPA to carry out periodic clean-up campaigns to rid communities of filth.
Following the lessons learnt from the first phase of the campaign, the church rolled out the second phase from February 24 to February 29, this year, reaching out to state and non-state actors to push the environmental protection agenda.
In the second phase, all the 67 area and 16,000 local assemblies of the church will collaborate with local actors to promote the sanitation agenda.