When refuse dump becomes the Smokers ‘Paradise’

Many substance abusers in Aflao-Dekeme have pitched camp close to the biggest refuse dump in the area, a situation that has left many residents in utter shock.

Over 150 smokers sit for many hours close to a refuse dump to smoke banned substances such as Indian hemp, heroin and cocaine in the full glare of the public at a spot they commonly refer to as the ‘base’.

This group of young men, mostly in their twenties appears not to be bothered by the pungent smell which emanates from the refuse dump and which ironically serves as place of convenience for several residents.

Unlike other places where smokers of banned substances practice their trade in secrecy, the situation is different here at Dekeme where the smokers practice their trade in public and pride themselves as members of the smoking fraternity.

The failure of Ketu South Municipal assembly to clear this 36-year old refuse dump has perhaps given respite to the smokers.

The smokers sit under tents whilst others also sit under canopy of trees at the edge of the refuse dump.

A 23-year old man, who for the sake of this report is identified as Kojo has been smoking here since the past three years.

Like several other members of the gang, Kojo considers himself lucky for being an Indian hemp smoker.

He publicly displays the wrapped substance in a piece of paper. For Kojo, smoking marijuana was the best thing to have happened to him.

“I don’t know anything about this life but since I started smoking, I know things about this life”.

Kojo claims his life has changed drastically as a result of his new found love.

“I was a gangster but since I [started] smoking, I have a spirit. Marijuana taught me. It turned my life from gangster to [a] righteous [person]. So that is why I love marijuana and loves smoking it”

Kojo’s love for marijuana pushes him to this refuse dump as early as 4:00 am to have the first bite of the substance.

For Kojo, his appetite for marijuana goes beyond addiction.

“No I can’t stop smoking because it is all my life. I love marijuana. It makes me feel cool; makes me [to] respect. Marijuana changed my whole life”. He explained in excited voice.

So why will smokers pitch camp close to a refuse dump, a situation residents of Dekeme find it difficult to understand?

As residents continue to wallow in awe over the smokers’ ‘base’, a 17-year old school dropout, Koshie told me he chose to smoke at the refuse dump because it was okay for me.

Residents of Aflao-Dekeme are worried the situation if not checked   could see many children in the area joining the smokers’ wagon.

They have seen enough of the smokers’ paradise.
According to them, the area has in recent times recorded some increase in crime, a situation which could escalate.

An opinion leader, Peter Atisu told Joy News smoking “has become free- for -all the youth in the area”.

“The question of smoking has been so phenomenal in the town. It has become everyday affair; free for everybody. It’s almost an eyesore”.

 Whist describing it as an eye sore, he wants police to be tough on the smokers whom he claimed are mostly strangers.

 But the Ketu South District Police Command says there is little the police can do to deal with the situation.

He said the command has time without number organized swoops and arrests leading to the prosecution of some of the smokers but the situation hasn’t changed.

Frustrated District Crime Officer, DSP Sampson Agbeko says police have received several reports on the nefarious activities on the smokers. He wondered why the smokers would go to the refuse dump to engage in smoking and perpetuate crime.

 “We have made several arrests. Some were put before the court; some were even sent to prison but still the people go there to smoke”

 As residents of Dekeme look up to police to act swiftly to curb the smoking menace in the community, police say it cannot shoulder the responsibility alone.

Until the blame game is over, majority of the youth in Dekeme would continue to indulge in the smoking of cannabis.


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