The Accra metropolis is under ‘siege’ from mounting garbage that now threatens the health of residents.
There is growing concern about garbage piling up in the city centre, the commercial areas and even homes, as solid waste contractors fail to lift filled-up containers.
The mess, the nauseating stench and the flies hovering over the heaps have become a grave source of worry to residents, but the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has issued a cheque for GH¢600,000 to the nine waste management contractors to help them clear the refuse.
Briefing journalists on measures being taken by the assembly to address filth in the capital yesterday, the Chief Executive of the AMA, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, stated that “by January next year our plans of dealing with sanitation in Accra will see a new day”.
“These measures are to enable the assembly to have more professional ways of dealing with the sanitation problems plaguing the capital,” he said. Cheques for contractors
The AMA used the briefing to issue a GH¢600,000 cheque to the waste management contractors, an amount the assembly had owed the contractors over the past three years.
The chief executive also pledged to, within the next two weeks, ensure that the assembly paid an additional GH¢600,000 to the contractors to enable them to pay the company operating the only remaining landfill site at Kpone.
The AMA owes the contractors GHc2.2 million, a situation that has undermined their capacity to pay waste dumping fees.
Of the amount, the assembly has paid GH¢900,000, 50 per cent of which went to the contractors, with the rest going to the companies managing the dumping sites.
Expressing outrage at the situation, Maame Yaa, a resident of Mamprobi, indicated that her container was lifted sometimes just once in two weeks.
‘This is not acceptable because the contractor promised to lift the container at least once a week,’ she stated.
According to her, the situation had changed from bad to worse and it was no longer possible to determine when her filled-up litter bin would be lifted.
Unfortunately, Maame Yaa is not alone in that situation.
Prosper Ayoo, who lives at Banana Inn, expressed similar sentiments and stated that it was time the government prioritised sanitation management, as it was the most basic service to residents.
There were filled-up containers in front of people’s homes, waiting to be lifted, when the Daily Graphic visited some communities in the Ablekuma South, Ablekuma Central and Ablekuma South sub-metropolitan areas. Contractors justify inability
Meanwhile, waste contractors have blamed their inability to regularly lift the containers on what they describe as multiple challenges.
The Executive Secretary of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), Mrs Ama Adobea Ofori-Antwi, said the commitment and the capacity of the members of the association to the work were unquestionable.
However, she said, ‘The sheer volume of garbage generated and the long travel distance to the waste disposal site, coupled with heavy vehicular congestion on the Accra-Tema road, were making the work not only difficult but also unprofitable.’
She said the members of the association were ready to partner the district assemblies to find a lasting solution to the current waste management crisis.
She said the association had suggested to the assemblies to find at least three transfer stations to help contain the solid waste management challenges.
The Accra metropolis generates in excess of 2,000 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis, but the final disposal site for a chunk of the refuse is the Kpone Landfill Site near Tema, which is more than 17 kilometres from Accra.
The Communications Manager at Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Mr Robert Coleman, described the work of the contractors as a daunting one, as they now spent more on fuel and paid overtime allowances to some of the truck drivers who were compelled to spend the night at the Kpone Landfill Site to dump.
The government’s indebtedness to operators of landfills and the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant located at Adjen Kotoku in the Ga West municipality has also been blamed for the recent solid waste management crisis, as the contractors have not been able to operate at full capacity.
The compost and recycling plant was shut down this week and, according to Mr Coleman, that development would have dire consequences on the already bad sanitation situation in the Greater Accra Region, particularly the national capital, Accra.
‘The plant recycles about 600 tonnes of garbage daily. Its shutdown will now put more pressure on the Kpone Landfill Site,’ he stated.
He said most of the contractors were unwilling to travel to the Kpone Landfill Site because of the distance and they were, therefore, not lifting the garbage at all. Efforts to curb sanitation
But the AMA is not sleeping over the problem.
On efforts at dealing with the sanitation problem, Dr Vanderpuije said the assembly was working out comprehensive plans to address all the solid and liquid waste challenges in Accra.
“Because we want to be prudent and responsible in waste management, we have closed all landfill sites at Oblogo and Mallam where we have capped the sites in order to return them back to the communities in a responsible way,” he said.
Besides, he said the assembly would soon take delivery of 24 waste management trucks and 120 refuse taxis to complement the efforts being made by the waste management companies.
“The waste management companies will also distribute waste bins to all the households in Accra,” he said, and pointed out that currently the assembly was collecting 47 per cent of the waste from the 170,000 households in Accra.
“The waste management companies have undertaken the commitment to ensure that they provide bins for 100 per cent of households,” he said, adding that such efforts would ensure the effective collection and disposal of waste. Liquid waste plant
Dr Vanderpuije also stated that his outfit had constructed and completed a liquid waste plant at East Legon that was currently serving areas such as the University of Professional Studies, the University of Ghana and the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School.
“We are yet to award the contract to a company to do the sewage lines in some Accra communities, including Accra Central, the Ministries area, the Dansoman Estate and its environs, as well as Labone, where there are existing sewage lines to be rehabilitated by November 2015,” he stated.
The chief executive said a committee had been set up to review the waste collection charges approved by the AMA.
“If residents pay the appropriate fees, we can ensure the proper collection and disposal of waste in the city,” he said.
“If you generate waste, you must pay for its disposal,” he stated.
He warned that the assembly would cause residents who flouted the assembly’s sanitation by-laws and regulations to face the full rigours of the law, stressing that sanitation was an important aspect of any city development.
“We can build good roads and schools and develop every infrastructure for the betterment of our people but the lack of service in the area of sanitation will render all these achievements useless,” he said.
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