The La community in the heart of the capital city Accra is being swallowed by filth. A colourful description by one resident Oko Adotei, sums it up: “the filth in the gutter makes it look like salad”.
Gutters are chocked to say the least and “with the onset of the rains, mosquitoes will invaded this area”.
The neighbourhood has had quite a checkered history with the people stereotyped as hostile. History also has it that the former moniker: “Labadi” is a bastardization of the English phrase “La people are bad” – a warning to all strangers who dare venture into the closely woven fishing community to be careful.
With this reputation however, the “My Community” team of the Joy News AM Show were warmly received into the homes of the people of Klakamadu and Abase Nshorna, communities in the La municipality, two communities who live across the street from the main La Township.
The people like others along the cost are predominantly fishermen and fishmongers but their problems however go beyond just premix fuel and low catch.
Walk into these communities the first thing that welcomes you is the bad smell from an open drain which used to be a river and a source of water for the community.
According to Florence Adokwei a resident, “people bring rubbish from Olmpia and surrounding areas and just dump it in the gutter. People in this area also use the gutter as a dumping ground. The beach is just pathetic. Some homes have been turned into refuse dumps and we can’t sleep at night because of mosquitoes”.
A fisherman, Henry Odoi Pekah, bemoaned the situation and noted “sanitation in this community is not the best. We have tried to improve upon it but the situation has not changed”.
La is famous for its beaches. One will not be wrong to say the community is an apex for holiday makers from the capital and beyond, but the beaches are under threat from the foul smell due to the open defecation on the beach.
What we saw at the beach during our visit to Abase Nshorna, can simply be termed “free range” – defecation on the beach is a competition between the young and old, male and female.
Residents however refuse to carry the shame of open defecation at the beach alone. Oko Adotei, says “I am saddened by the fact that some people from across the street come to defecate at the beach even though they have a toilet facility at their end. But I think they do this because they know at the beach it is free”.
Fishermen also say plastic waste in the sea has forced the fish into the deep seas thus affecting their catch.
Nettey Fabi a fishers at Abase Nshorna complained “the deep sea is filled with pure water sachets and other plastic waste. This affects our catch. We end up with plastic waste in our nets instead of fish. We have complained about it several times but nothing is done. The pure water producers keep making money whiles we struggle”.
He added that the continuous pollution on the sea has forced fish into the deep seas so they are running the fishing business at a loss. Most residents also complained they didn’t have dustbins but according to Eugene Montana Menka, “there are dustbins at vantage points but people feel lazy to dump their refuse there”. He also suggested that “if possible, the drains should be covered so that people do not dump their solid waste into them”.
Though he is unable to give a timeline to solve the problems of the communities; the assembly man Emmanuel Baah assures that measures will be put in place to resolve the situation. Adding that from April this year residents of Kaklamadu and Abasa Nshorna will be prosecuted for defecating on the beach and throwing waste in the drain.