Ghana’s capital city, Accra is inundated with rubbish and uncollected garbage which has earned it the 4th dirtiest city in West Africa.
Meeting the press, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resource Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, said what has stood in the way of the timely and efficient provision of waste management services or the collection of refuse or garbage, for that matter, was an outstanding debt of GHc 892 million which the ministry inherited from the previous government owed to waste management companies.
This debt was accrued for the provision of various services such as fumigation, compensation for GYEDA [Ghana Youth Employment Development Agency], sanitation garbs, the provision of landfill management services, as well as debts arising from contracts with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Metropolitan Municipal, and District Assemblies.
“The NPP government has not only negotiated the settlement of these debts, but has commenced payment and also made resources available for the emergency evacuation of the heaps of refuse which have piled up especially in Accra and all the regional capitals,” the Minster said.
The Ministry of Finance has released funds for the immediate evacuation of waste, which would be carried out in the next few days. The evacuation will also bring in its wake, the closure of the illegal dumpsites dotted throughout the capital of Accra he noted.
The absence of mini waste transfer stations, strategically located throughout the cities and towns usually constructed as stop gap measures to take on the waste within the neighborhoods from where it would then be conveyed and transported to the major transfer stations such as Achimota or to the final sites such as Kpone. This is also a major contributor to the current filthy situation in Accra and has to be addressed he emphasized.
Additionally, the Ministry of Finance has also released fifty million cedis (GHc 50,000,000) to construct fifteen mini transfer stations in addition to the evacuation for a start.
Hon. Kofi Adda said, the government has completed a draft policy to establish a National Sanitation Authority to regulate and lead the implementation of quality sanitation services to Ghanaians. He said the Authority would have a supporting Sanitation Fund that would make financial resources readily available for its activities.
The Minister explained that the draft policy had made provision for the establishment of a dedicated enforcement team to be known as National Sanitation Brigade that would ensure compliance with sanitation laws and regulations.
The Minister noted that, an assessment of the entire value chain of waste management business system in Ghana with a view to restructuring the sub-sector for efficient operations has also been undertaken.
He further said that, the need to transform the attitudes of our citizenry with regards to sanitation can certainly not be overemphasized. Through stakeholder consultations, a Total Sanitation Campaign Strategy has been drawn up and would be launched very soon by the President.
The attitudinal aspects of our lifestyle as well as the lack of cooperation of an emerging group of players in the waste haulage business, known as ‘borla taxis’ who are helping with conveyance of waste but do not often comply with the established guidelines have also contributed to the problem.
The need to formalize, regulate and integrate the ‘borla taxis’ into the waste management business value chain coupled with their compliance with laid down guidelines would no doubt improve the sanitation management situation, especially in the neighborhoods where the big trucks cannot get in. in that instances, the youth have created businesses for themselves, earning incomes and we must support them to be more effective he stated.