14 January 2013

Ghana: Cabinet Approves U.S.$940 Million Sanitation Investment Plan

The outcry for a long term plan to the numerous sanitation challenges confronting the nation has led to the approval of a 25-year investment plan at the cost of US$940m by Cabinet towards the realization of a cleaner environment.

The plan, if approved by Parliament, would help deal extensively with the numerous sanitation issues which arise from the various dumping sites across the country, especially those in Accra.

The Acting Director, Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, Naa Demedeme has disclosed.

He made this revelation in an interview with journalists when his outfit, together with officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) moved to close down the Achimota Landfill site last Thursday.

"Cabinet has approved the investment plan for sanitation over a period of 25 years at a cost of almost $1bn. Once Parliament approves it, government will look for the resources to build the infrastructure," he said.

Accra has in recent times, become the center for discussion, with regards to sanitation issues due to the lack of appropriate landfill sites for the disposal of garbage. The city is estimated to generate 2,200 tonnes of garbage daily, but faces a daunting task to accommodate those wastes.

The Weija, Oblogo, Mallam and other landfill sites managed by the city authorities have all been shut down, with the Achimota and Abokobi dump sites as the only operational ones for the disposal of the city garbage.

However, the public outcry over the distasteful stench emanating from the Achimota Landfill site which was previously a quarry site, has also led to its closure, with the AMA covering the site with laterite and fumigating it to quench the stench.

Such move was initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which named Thursday, January 10, 2013, as the deadline for the closure of the site. This was after residents of the area, led by their Member of Parliament (MP), had threatened to demonstrate against the AMA.

Accra Compost & Recycling Plant as an alternative

With the closure of the Achimota Landfill site and the numerous agitation over the Abokobi Landfill site, the AMA has no where to manage the numerous waste generated in the city.

The Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, worried about this phenomenon has directed all waste management companies to use the Accra Compost & Recycling Plant and the Tema Engineering Landfill as a short term alternative.

"We are covering up the place with laterite and also re-locating the dumping site to Accra Compost & Recycling Plant, the Tema Engineering landfill and other places as a short term measure," noted Mr. Demedeme.

All the seventeen solid waste management contractors; including J. Stanley Owusu, Asadu Royal, Zoomlion Ghana Limited and Meskworld are using the Achimota Landfill site.

The challenge to the aforementioned sites for the short term measure, Mr. Demedeme argued, was the distance, coupled with the heavy traffic in transporting the garbage from the city.

However, the sanitation expert was quick to add that his outfit was considering establishing numerous collection centers at various vantage points in the city to assist in the collection of garbage to the final disposal sites.

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