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Accra’s Uncleanliness Next to Ungodliness

The popular term, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is believed to have been coined by the Rev. John Wesley, co-founder of the Methodist Church, while delivering a sermon in 1791.

John Wesley was of the view that one could not claim to be religious and sloven at the same time.

In Deuteronomy 23:12-14, God issued a command to the Israelites concerning maintaining proper hygiene practices.

Verse 14 reads; “For the Lord, your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you.

“Your camp must be holy so that He will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you” (NIV).

This command to the Israelites connotes God’s intolerance for filthy environment.


The instruction was to cover up waste and maintain a clean environment.

The repercussion of flouting the instruction to maintain a clean camp would be God’s departure from the midst of the sojourning Israelites.

This meant that God was not only interested in their intrinsic purity and religiosity but maintaining a clean physical environment equally matters to Him.


The issue of pollution is a crucial topic for discussion in our world today.

The planet’s current deplorable state can largely be attributed to the problem of pollution.

News making headlines is the heatwave, drought, tornadoes and flash floods menacing countries around the world.

Rivers are drying up and wildfires are ravaging lives, vegetation and properties.

In 2021, world leaders agreed to cut down on the use of fossil fuels at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The government launched the Green Ghana Day project which aimed at planting over five million trees nationwide for four years.

All these are measures being implemented worldwide to save the planet from total degradation.

However, many are in denial of the damaging effect improper hygiene practices have on us and our planet.

Accra is notorious for its filthiness. It is not unusual to come across heaps of rubbish strewn across busy streets of the city.

In the densely populated parts of the city, the situation keeps worsening as more and more people seem to neglect the need for proper sanitation procedures.

The city is getting deluged with plastic waste products.

It is not uncommon to see one or more polythene bags floating and swaying aloft river bodies and in drains, especially during rains now and then. These plastics are inorganic and do not easily decay.

Thus, they are capable of creating a nuisance for decades, impeding percolation and leaching.

Poor drainage, weeds

Clogged-up wastewater in open gutters quite often triggers heavy flooding in the city after torrential rains. There is also the issue of overgrown lawns around the city, especially in road medians and reservations.

Bushy lawns tend to breed rodents and snakes. This is mostly a lingering menace in sparsely populated neighbourhoods.

As a result of the heaped-up filth, pungent smells from open gutters, putrefying dead rodents, and other organic matters are continually given off in the atmosphere.

The discomforting situation this nuisance creates makes strolling in the city an unpleasant ordeal.

Fumes from rickety vehicles have compounded the problem of air pollution.

Religion and cleanness

More than 70 per cent of Ghana’s population are Christians, with over 9.6 million of the population ascribing to Pentecostalism and the Charismatic faith, according to statistics provided by the 2021 population census.

On almost every street corner of Accra, there is a place of worship.

As a people priding themselves in being religious, it is about time a positive attitude is embraced towards maintaining proper hygiene practices in the environment.

Incessant littering and dumping of refuse must be avoided, the drainages must be cleaned and unclogged of filth, and bushy lawns and yards should be tidied up.

Cleanliness equates to godliness, and just as God instructed the people of Israel to refrain from indecency in their camps, He expects the same of all.

We certainly do not want to make our beloved city appalling to God. Let’s make it habitable for Him, then.

The writer is a student intern


Classic Ghana

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