By Elizabeth Awinbono, GNA
Accra, Jan 17, GNA - Tema Station, a major lorry terminal in the Accra Metropolis, close to Ministries, is engulfed in filth and posing health hazards as uncovered drains choked with liquid and solid waste emit overpowering stench.
A more disturbing picture established by the GNA is the fact that, several food vendors have invaded spots and doing business, amidst stench discharged from the insanitary conditions.
Head porters, locally called Kayaye, who are mostly nursing mothers operating at the corridors of the station, have also turned the place into their resting abodes and leaving behind their little children to roam about helplessly without due regard to their safety.
Structures built to serve passengers are converted into mini-shops like salons and other businesses, forcing travelers to stand in the scorching sun while waiting to board vehicles.
The only public toilet around the station charges GHC1.00, while few mobile urinals charge GHC 0.20P.
Madam Rahina Abrahim, a food vendor, who spoke to the GNA admitted that foul smell from the choked drains was a threat to their health, but said she had no option since she had to make ends meet.
She said several dustbins she placed around the location were stolen, worsening the unhygienic situation.
She said traders, were paying a fee of GHC 2.00 daily to station officials to keep the place tidy but “we are not seeing anything from the money we have been paying.”
Mr Desmond Owusu Ansah, a commercial driver, who expressed concern about the deterioration condition of the Station called for immediate action to address the situation.
He described the environment as heavily polluted, saying: “We are inhaling polluted air; we eat from poorly prepared food; and virtually live within a hazard zone from morning to evening…our lives are at risk.”
Another food vendor, Madam Korkor Amanor, said environmental officers from Osu Klotey Municipal Assembly occasionally visited to educate the people on how to observe good sanitation practices.
“We are also screened and issued with health certificates to operate; without the health certificate, one cannot operate a chop bar, so we are conscious of our work and the risks involved,” she added.
Scores of traders and drivers appealed to the Municipal Assembly to fumigate the station periodically, dispose the waste more often and carry out consistent health education and engagement on good healthy practices.
Passengers also urged city authorities to restore the station to its original state, kick out hawkers and food vendors who have taken over structures meant for waiting passengers.
They also called on the station masters to instill discipline among drivers and their mates, saying: “Some of the drivers and mates are just too rude.”
Mr Emmanuel Gyan, a Health Officer at the Tema Station Health Clinic, told the GNA in an interview that the facility records a lot of malaria cases as a result of the poor sanitation inside and around the station.
He cautioned that living in filth and unclean environment could result in cholera, typhoid and other related diseases, while smoke, being discharged from smokers, could affect the human lungs.
He appealed to state agencies to come to their aid in order to help minimise malaria and cholera outbreak.
While calling for the provision of additional toilet facility, he commended city authorities to provide the station with security gadgets for monitoring activities of people disposing waste into gutters indiscriminately and smoking openly.