Clean Communities: The harrowing sanitation tale of Kojokrom

Kojokrom is a community in the Shama Ahanta East Municipality of the Western region. A notable landmark in the town is the railway line that passes through the settlement.

The community, a few months ago, was faced with a terrible sanitation situation where waste is left uncollected for weeks in what residents claim is fuelled by political reasons.

Two months ago the JoyNews’ ‘Clean Communities’ team visited the community and met the town engulfed in filth, with a heap of rubbish in the middle of the community.

Following the team’s report on the situation, the rubbish was cleared.

However, a few weeks later, the situation has reverted.

The stench of the pile of rubbish is overwhelming and the residents are unhappy the contractor in charge of emptying the garbage is not doing his work.

A resident complained: ‘the refuse produces mosquitoes and when it rains the stench that emanates from it is unbearable.’

 ‘The stench is so strong and enters our rooms and makes it impossible for us to stay there’, grumbled another resident.

Residents claim they have complained about the situation several times yet nothing has been done been about it.

‘We have complained about it but the Sekondi-Takoradi Municipal (STMA) is yet to do something about it’, declared a resident.

Residents do not understand why they should pay to dispose off their rubbish yet nothing is done to get rid of it.

For residents of Kojokrom, safe collection and disposal of their waste remains a major worry.

Some residents of the community are not even sure who to hold responsible for their sanitation situation.

Speaking about the issue on JoyNews Multi TV’s sanitation program, Clean Communities, Mr. Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy at WaterAid Ghana said in all districts waste management is the responsibility of the respective Assemblies.

Under the operating principles and guidelines, each community is supposed to have water and sanitation management teams with people who manage communities’ water and sanitation issues, he explained.

Every community that has the water facilities are supposed to have WSMT [Waste and Sanitation Management Taskforce].

 ‘This body is supposed to work in cooperation with the assembly man or woman to promote waste management’, he said.

He mentioned the Pollution Pay Principle of the 2010 Environmental Sanitation Policy, where at the point of dumping waste people are supposed to pay a token to aid in the collection, management and final disposal of the waste.

The assembly man or woman is supposed to do those collections and account it to the district assembly, according to Mr. Ibrahim Musah.

At the end of the month there must be an account rendered and through that proceeds waste management companies are paid, the government only tops up if management of refuse dumps are not able to raise enough money to settle their bills.

‘This is how waste management should go’, he said.

He said in the case of Kojokrom, the assembly man in the community is supposed to be in charge of collection of monies paid for waste disposal.

Again, he said the District Water and Sanitation team should be up and doing. ‘They should move in and work with the revenue collector so the money is used judiciously to ensure their sanitation is upbeat’ he said.

He underscored that the role of traditional authority is crucial in dealing with environmental sanitation.

‘After all in the Ghanaian make up traditional authorities have an important role to play in mobilizing, organizing and promoting peace so there is no way cleaner communities can succeed without traditional authorities being at the center.’

He appealed to traditional authorities in every community to join forces with Assembly men and women to deal with sanitation issues.

‘The traditional authorities in their time tested wisdom should come into the picture to support the assembly men and women to resolve the problem. We trust the wisdom, ingenuity and expertise of the traditional authorities’, he said.

Clean Communities airs 7 pm every Friday on JoyNews Multi TV

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