$700m won’t totally tackle Accra flooding – Environmental Service Providers

The Environmental Service Providers Association says spending $700 million to construct new drains and dislodge choked ones is not an effective way to prevent the perennial floods in Accra.

While touring affected parts of the city after a downpour, the Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, announced that a total of seven million dollars will be needed to tackle the challenge.

But speaking to Citi News at the sidelines of a workshop on plastic waste, the Executive Secretary of the Environmental Service Providers Association, Ama Ofori Antwi, said the amount should rather be invested in the sanitation sector.

“The government has done well with such a recommendation, but that is not the solution to the problem. We’ve experienced flooding in the past. No amount of distilling or dislodging will solve the problem. Till we have the infrastructure. If we create those big drains and go and distill them, it still gives people the opportunity to go and dump their refuse in them once the refuse problem has not been resolved. So till the problem of us learning how to dispose refuse appropriately and people knowing that the refuse does not belong to the drains or the Odaw River, that amount will not solve the problem. So the money should rather be invested in the sanitation sector where we can learn to get rid of our filth then the problem will be solved.”

She added that, “It’s an attitudinal problem. So it’s not about the physical infrastructure. The physical infrastructure we need are the transfer stations and the final disposal sites. When people know where they can send their refuse, plastics, and metals, it will help the situation. But if those drains are built and people don’t know where to dispose their refuse, they will still dump their refuse in the drains.

Grant tax exemptions on sanitation logistics

Municipal assemblies have the mandate to deal with sanitation situation in the country. However, this responsibility has currently been outsourced to the private sector.

She thus called on the government to grant tax weavers on sanitation logistics to ensure private service providers have enough fleets to carry out this responsibility to improve the sanitation in the capital.

“The government needs to grant tax exemptions on all sanitation equipment. This way, service providers will have enough fleets to carry out the service provision” she argued.

Information available to Citi News indicates that, an import levy of  GHs50,000.00 is slapped on second hand imported waste trucks with an average lifespan of 5 years.

She further called for massive education of the citizenry on the effects of indiscriminate disposal of refuse into open drains and enforcement of bye-laws on persons who breach them.

Source: Caleb Kudah/citifmonline.com/Ghana