One hundred casual workers of the Accra Compost & Recycling Plant have been laid off following the shutdown of the waste management plant.
The closure follows a notice served by the management of the plant to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to fulfil its part of the contract signed between the two organisations.
In the said contract, the ministry was to bear the cost of tipping the waste that was received and processed at the plant.
However, in the past two years, the management of the plant had not received any money from the ministry, forcing it to survive on loans to take care of bills at the plant. Compost plant shut down
When the Daily Graphic visited the site Monday, waste materials that were received at the plant over the weekend were being cleared.
There were less than five workers at the receiving bay of the plant.
According to the Business Development Manager of the plant, Mr Micheal Padi Tuwor, on a normal day, the bay was manned by about 20 people.
The plant, which receives 600 metric tonnes of waste a day, had as of the time of filing this report, less than a tonne of waste being cleared at the site.
Less than 20 people were found at the primary and hand-sorting section of the plant which, on a normal day, had 30 people working there.
“As you can see, we are left with some few workers for now who are doing the final clearing of the waste materials that we have here. By tomorrow morning all these would have been sorted out and the plant would be shut down,” Mr Tuwor said. Impact of closure on Ghanaians
Apart from workers of the plant losing their jobs, Mr Tuwor said there was going to be more pressure on other landfill sites when the plant was shut down.
“If we shut down, as we are doing now, it means we are going to hold back 600 metric tonnes of waste that should have otherwise come in here, hence other alternatives need to be employed,” he said.
He said households would also have to contain the delay in the collection of refuse, as the trucks would now have to travel long distances to dislodge refuse, saying, “Refuse trucks will now take longer periods at dump sites and this means that collection rates will drop.” Workers call for intervention
Speaking to the Daily Graphic , the Composting Plant Supervisor, Mr Emmanuel Oteng, described the situation as critical, adding that until there was an intervention from the government, another batch of 100 workers would be laid off.
“As I speak now, my job is also on the line because I can also be asked to go home at any moment and I have people who depend on me, as well as children to feed,” he said.
For 22-year-old Stephen Arku, the closure of the plant is going to affect the education of his brother who depends on him for his needs.
He, therefore, called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, intervene to save the livelihood of the workers of the plant. Time bomb
According to the Communications Manager of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Mr Robert Coleman, the country is currently sitting on a time bomb if the issue is not resolved.
He said with the onset of the rains and the unavailability of a dump site in Accra, pressure was now going to be mounted on the Kpong dump site, adding that refuse trucks would now have to delay in collecting refuse due to the distance from the site to Accra.
“Even with the current dump site being operated, we have challenges in terms of the distance, so almost every day there is a backlog of refuse.
“Accra generates about 2,500 tonnes of waste every day and we are not able to collect even 60 per cent of that. So now that this has happened, the trucks will have to be parked because we can’t collect the refuse and charge residents of Accra to go and dump the refuse in another region,” he explained. Government must support
Mr Coleman appealed to the government to meet with the management of the compost plant and resolve the issues between them.
He debunked claims that the company was not able to manage waste effectively, saying the problem had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the company was incapacitated or didn’t have the capacity and the equipment to perform.
He said the company, if given the necessary boost, was ready to work to attain its mandate of being at the forefront of the environmental sanitation industry in Ghana and Africa.
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