Various waste materials are disposed off in diverse ways. For instance drainage facilities carry some liquid waste to their destinations. Some solid waste can also be burned, buried or recycled. Have you ever wondered what happens to our currency when it loses its value? Do we burn it or throw it away? We all use and spend money but what happens to the money when it’s no longer valuable, what happens to it? Interestingly, no matter how bad or wretched-looking money is, the value remains the same. We all love to handle new money but unfortunately, many of us do not know how to take care of it. When people get new currency notes, they are reluctant to spend it. If this is the case, why do we allow that fresh note to get battered? Can we be careful how we handle them so that they can maintain the freshness for a long time? Maybe if money could speak, one day they will ask some of us questions about why we treat it the way we do.
Currency refers to money in any form when in actual use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins. It is an undeniable fact that money is very important for all transactions throughout the world though different countries use different currencies; thus, one country’s currency cannot be used as a medium of exchange for goods and services in another country. Before one can have access to a lot
of goods and services, you need money to exchange for them. Even if services are free, we still need money to be able to get to them. For example if healthcare delivery in a country is free, individuals still need money to transport their patients to the health centres. It is very sad how we handle our currencies. Most currencies come in notes (paper) and coins. The coins do not really have a problem because they are metallic and can stand most of the pressures notes cannot go through.
One of my teachers used to joke that if we know some of the places money goes through,
we’ll never want to touch them but I did not understand untill the day I saw a woman struggling to take out money from her panties!!! Yes, she had put the money in her panties because she was carrying firewood on her head (to go and sell) and had used her cloth to tie her baby to her back so the only convenient place for her to keep money was her panties (eeeew). This is shocking but true, most people women especially keep money (especially notes or paper) in places you can never imagine, sometimes in their underwear, bras, and sometimes….. I understand some people dig holes to bury money as a way of keeping it safe.
Again, some of us also turn money into writing pads; writing contact information (especially phone number) or making some calculations and any information we come across. Sometimes too, we leave the money around and our children use them as their writing materials. Do you know who’s going to get hold of that currency? Writing someone’s contact information on money is like announcing it on TV for everyone… or sometimes when we want to get some items from the shops, we simply write them on the paper money just so we don’t forget them when we get to the market. The reason for this is that most people easily carry money than they will carry paper so when there’s the need to write something, money automatically becomes the writing pad. Some people have also made it a habit, even when there’s an option, they will always write on money. With the issue of writing on money, I think that the current mobile phone trend should be able to solve this. One day I decided to place a call to one of the numbers on money, the receiver was speaking a language I did not understand.
The interesting thing about this whole issue is how we believe that when you tear some part of the money and keep, you’ll never lack money (I tried it and it never worked). Anytime money gets into the hands of such people, they tear the edges of the money to keep believing that they’ll never lack money …this is the reason why we find a lot of money notes that have torn edges. If everyone who gets that money tears the edges I’m sure the money will get to the point where it can’t be used for any transactions. In instances where the edges are not torn, they are dog eared; the edges are folded.
One of the ways through which we mishandle money is how we keep it. Some of us actually squeeze the money(Gosh)!!! It’s important that we straighten paper notes before we keep them in a clean and decent wallet or purse. I sometimes feel embarrassed when I open my purse to take out money and it’s all crumpled. Even if the money is not new, the way we handle it will determine the life span of the currency. If some people take
money out of their pockets, you’ll think that money was removed from a bottle with a tiny neck. Maybe it is because a lot of us are ignorant about the fact that huge sums of money and other resources are used to print the money we use, so we handle it anyhow. Maybe if we are aware that handling money well will help save resources for other projects will go a long way to let people handle money carefully.
It used to beat my mind whenever people advise
that we should wash our hands before and after handling money, now I fully agree with them. In my culture, we throw money around dead people during funerals and it will be very unhealthy if at the end of the day, the people who gather the money do not wash their hands after counting them; then they come to shake your hands (not mine please) then you go see some “koose” (cakes made from frying beans flour) and start eating without washing your hands! Even if not for anything, it’s not a healthy habit to handle money without washing our hands. Then again we have the washing money part. Some people out of carelessness or forgetfulness wash their clothes with money in the pocket! (I am a victim). I don’t often keep money in my trousers pockets, anytime I’m washing my clothes, I search the pockets and never find a pesewa. On the days I don’t check, I wash money.
I can’t conclude this without talking about how our food sellers treat the poor currency.
Kebab sellers, our favourite waakye sellers, charcoal sellers, oil palm sellers, drivers (some trotro mates are very careful how they treat money, they arrange notes neatly and carefully and put them in a bag) and other people, can we treat our currency better? I’ll tell you how; lets stop holding the currency with dirty hands. And also find a neat place to keep them. Sometimes I fight with cambuu drivers because of how they keep money (crumpled in a small compartment of the cambuu). My colleague ladies, it’s true that sometimes we have handbags or purses that are too small to house money But it does not mean we should crumple them, we can still fold them neatly to fit into the bag. And please when we put money in our pockets, let’s check to be sure it’s not crumpled.
Have you ever seen how Ghanaians handle foreign currencies especially the dollar and the pound? Always neatly arranged in their wallet but the same wallet is housing crumpled Ghana Cedi notes. It’s high time our banks embark on campaigns to sensitise the public on how to handle money. Laws on mishandling our currency should also be enforced. The Currency Act of 1964 should be reviewed to include acts on mishandling of currencies and appropriate punishments assigned to these laws. Banks and other companies should also embark on serious campaigns to sensitise people on the need to handle our currency with extra care.
And maybe Bank of Ghana (BoG) should think of making our currency water proof like that of the Uk, Canada and other countries. This currency is smooth, Made from Polymer, these banknotes last significantly longer than paper notes, causing a decrease in
environmental impact and a reduced cost of production and replacement. Apart from that, the notes incorporate many security features not available in paper banknotes which makes it difficult for forgers to make counterfeits for circulation. Thus, polymer notes are more durable, reliable and secure.
In the meantime, while we wait for such an initiative from the Bank of Ghana, let us handle what we have right, please let’s hear the cry of the poor currency notes. It does not take much to treat the currency right, I trust we can do this together.