Poor Drainage System How Nungua residents are being drained of all their savings

Every year, residents spend over 300 cedis each on maintenance of burst pipes and faulty manholes. Others without manholes often dispose off their waste water on pathways along the street.

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For over twenty years since residents settled in a small community called Odikoman in the Nungua township in the Greater Accra region, the area has been without a proper drainage system.

Even though the community is surrounded by sophisticated hotels, shopping malls and glittering roads, residents are dwelling in poor conditions.

As the rainy season approaches, I am beginning to imagine what the fate of residents, including my household will be, considering the lack of a proper drainage system.

There is no denying the fact that erosion and cracking of concrete sidewalks, fences and foundations are all caused by poor drainage. What is more, poor drainage can result in ponding or standing water that doesn’t go away and forms puddles around properties in the community, with side effects being moss, mildew, insects, and rodents.

For my 10 year existence in that community, I realised that the issue of drainage was initially overlooked, but when residents started encountering devastating results, especially in relation to their health and pollution, they had to come up with a strategy, even though it called for high initial capital.

 

Some residents took up the challenge and began constructing manholes and inspection chambers to contain the situation.

These manholes were able to carry water, stormwater and wastewater into the main Blekese river. But, because of the high cost involved due to the long distance required in connecting waste pipes to the main Blekese river, some residents ignored the move.

However, as it dawned on many of them, the failure to join the fray would have debilitating conditions on their health and lifestyle, so they joined the bandwagon.

I thought all our worries would be over with the availability of manholes, until we started having issues with maintenance. The fact is, the manhole is connected with long waste pipes, which carries the water, stormwater and wastewater along the adjoining roads in the community into the main Blekese river. However, due to tipper trucks and other heavy duty vehicles which ply the road, the waste pipes often burst, creating a nuisance in the community as waste water gushes from the pipes.

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A customs officer, who was the brain behind the manhole strategy, took it upon herself to ensure maintenance of the waste pipes. And how does she do that? Anytime there is a fault with either of the chambers or a burst in the waste pipes, she goes to every household in the community connected to the said chamber and asks that each household pay a specific amount of money for maintenance.

When one of the chambers recently developed a fault which resulted in it overflowing some of the waste water, residents became frustrated. Why? Because each household was asked to pay 30 cedis for maintenance.

 

As I followed with other residents to ascertain what the problem might be, I asked the customs officer how she felt about that the situation, considering she has to move to over 10 households when a problem occurs.

"It is a worrying situation my dear. As for Nungua here, we have never had a gutter, everyday this and that. It is not easy moving from one place to the other to ask for contribution to repair a broken pipe or manhole, but what can you do? You have no option," she said.

One other woman tells me how government and the incumbent member of parliament have failed them.

"Every day they come here and ask for votes but they don't care that we don't have a gutter. The MP was once living here with us but he doesn't care," she said.

"We will be very happy if you can talk for us because we are tired", a pure water seller said.

Every year, residents spend over 300 cedis each on maintenance of burst pipes and faulty manholes. Others without manholes often dispose off their waste water on pathways along the street. Early mornings, the situation is awful, as pools of standing water are formed on pathways, with the place often smelling of urine. That is the situation residents and I have had to grapple with. Usually, I am forced to jump and tip-toe over  pools of water and wastewater.

As the rainy season is here with us, many residents are being compelled to set aside monies every month in case of any eventuality with the waste pipes or manholes.

play Resident standing around a faulty chamber

 

Residents seem to have lost all hope of being provided with a proper drainage system anytime soon. Even though government has never refused to come to the community to campaign for votes during election periods, it has not been forthcoming with its promise to provide a proper drainage system for residents when voted into power.

It is my hope that government will come to the rescue of residents in Nungua Odikoman street soon.

For the customs officer, she tells me she will continue to go round for contributions as and when the need arises so as to maintain the current situation, albeit not the best.

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