The President did not mince words when he mentioned that his administration would ensure that Accra becomes the cleanest city in Africa.
“The commitment I want to make, and for all of us to make, is that by the end of my term in office, Accra will be the cleanest city on the entire African continent. That is the commitment am making,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said in April last year at a durbar in Accra.
Following this ambitious drive, a Ministry responsible for sanitation and Water Resources was created to among other things cater for the thousands of tons of garbage that are generated on daily basis in the city and beyond.
However, it is sad to note that, in spite of the pledges and efforts being initiated to rid the city of filth, the situation remains.
One year into the President’s pronouncement, Public Agenda went round some parts of the capital to assess the situation and can report that the garbage situation around the city is not rosy even though city authorities with support from private waste management companies are doing their best to meet the target.
This suggest that more work needs to be done to get the city to the level the president desire to see it before the end of his term.
The paper’s expedition around some suburbs of the city last week found most containers placed at various points to collect refuse were full to capacity and overflowing but were left uncollected for days.
Specific suburbs visited by Public Agenda to ascertain the garbage situation included Alajo, Maamobi ,Nima, Santa Maria, Avenor ,Town Council line, Teshie, Labadi, sowutuom and Kaneshie market.
Others include Pig farm, Darkuman, Zongo junction, Anyaa Market, Shukura, Agbogloshie, Niiboi Town, asylum down, Kantamanto and Kanda.
In the aforementioned areas, indiscriminate disposure of garbage especially in drainages, surroundings, and on the peripheries of the streets was the order of the day.
The residents in separate interviews told Public Agenda that, the refuse were dropped at midnight while people were asleep, hence making it difficult to track the perpetrators.
In other suburbs such as Odorkor and Laterbiorkorshie the paper found heaps of rubbish piled on the pavements along the main roads.
It is important to note that some of the areas the paper visited were very clean, they included industrial area, Bubuashie, Fadama, Abeka, Tesano, SwanLake and Dansoman.
Mr Idrissu Sumaila, a resident of Fadama told Public Agenda that the country’s waste problem needs a holistic approach to achieve a clean and healthy environment. According to him, for the president’s dream to materialize, he said, “there must be a change of attitude where each and every Ghanaian will be committed to ensuring that they help eradicate filth in the City and whenever they find themselves.”
He said it behooves on the citizenry to ensure that they keep their surroundings clean and not wait for government to do so for them.
Mr Sumaila lauded Zoomlion and other private waste management Companies in the country for their effort in ensuring that the city is kept clean but insists that citizens must be part of the drive.
In March this year the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Joseph Kofi Adda blamed waste management service provider, Zoomlion for the filth which had engulfed the city of Accra and the entire country.
“I will blame it squarely on Zoomlion” Joseph Kofi Adda said at a forum where the CEO of the waste management company was present.
But in a response, the Waste management company, Zoomlion described as “extremely incongruous” the Sanitation Minister’s claim that it is to blame for the the mounting filth in the country.
Jospong Communications Director, Robert Coleman said Kofi Adda was ill-informed about the activities of the company, which he believes triggered his comment.
Accra emerged the most polluted city on earth on the Pollution Index 2016 followed by Lebanon’s Beirut because of the poor sanitation situation. The city of Accra generates 3,000 metric tonnes of waste daily.
Around the world, waste generation rates are rising. In 2012, the worlds’ cities generated 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year, amounting to a footprint of 1.2 kilograms per person per day. With rapid population growth and urbanization, municipal waste generation is expected to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025.
By Mohammed Suleman