Ghana: Waste, lagoons, and deserts

Besides some concerns about oil’s impact on the environment in Ghana, there have been a number of other recent stories that remind us that Ghana’s environmental problems are far more widespread and diversified.

Waste Disposal

One of the biggest issues is the problem of waste disposal (or the lack thereof).As Fiona Leonard mentions in her blog, “A Fork in the Road”,Ghana’s beaches occasionally look pretty bad because of this. The Korle Lagoon in Ghana is particularly bad (a number of observers have called it one of the most polluted waters on the planet but I’m not sure whether there is an official measure of this). It is even called “Sodom and Gomorrah”. Nevertheless, there have been efforts to change the situation. Ghana’s Ministry of Housing and Works has contracted with International Marine and Dredging Consultants to do work to reduce pollution in the lagoon. However, some efforts (I’m not sure exactly who is behind these) have also created important social problems, including the eviction of squatters.

Fiona also mentions a great advertising campaign designed to bring attention to the issue (“The Picture the Ghana Tourist Board Doesn’t Want You to See”).

However, don’t take all of this as a sign that there aren’t good beaches in Ghana. Esi’s “What Yo’ Mama Never Told You About Ghana” blog has a nice rundown of great Ghanaian beaches that are worth visiting.

Desertification

More pleasant, perhaps, is the news about a new grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and World Bank to combat desertification and drought in Ghana.

In case you missed it, last friday, June 17th, was World Desertification Day. Sponsored by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) the focus this year was on supporting the UN’s International Year of the Forests. In Ghana, the MTN Group sponsored at least a couple events.

Jessica Posner, Wesleyan ’09, wins the top prize!

I definitely recommend that you go to the Huffington Post site (see below) and watch the video of her win.

Congratulations Jessica and Kennedy for all of your success!

The 2010 Do Something Awards ceremony, hosted by actress Jane Lynch, was a star-studded affair, with appearances by Megan Fox, Snoop Dog, the Jonas Brothers, Alyssa Milano, and a bevy of other household names. The biggest name of the night, however, was Jessica Posner, who won the ceremony’s $100,000 grand prize to expand a girls’ school in Kibera, Kenya.

Posner moved to Kenya at age 20 to teach theater to children there. She was shocked by the poverty she saw in Kenya’s largest slum — according to the Denver Post, 1.5 million people live in this area the size of Central Park.

Inspired to change lives in this area, she founded Shining Hope for Communities, a nonprofit that builds tuition-free girls schools.

WATCH Posner win the award on VH1.com:

blog it

Should we give aid to governments or people? (via Chris Blattman)

Chris Blattman’s blog provides links to a useful debate:

Should we give aid to governments or people? Easterly versus Barder. Both are worth checking out.

Chris Blattman’s Blog: Should we give aid to governments or people?.