PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has urged Ghanaians to refrain from negative sanitation practices that have resulted in the huge sanitation crisis, bedeviling city authorities.
He said the city of Accra alone produces 2,500 metric tons of garbage daily, and blamed the situation on increased settlement and human activity, saying "the demographics of Accra is increasing every ten years, so there is pressure on water and sanitation control."
According to him, settlement and human activity has further contributed to the perennial flooding, traffic congestion and improper sewage and refuse disposal in the city.
Particularly, he decried the dumping of refuse into streams and other water bodies, thereby interfering in their flow, stressing "the gutters and drains are not garbage containers."
"We are reaping what we have been sowing," he pointed out, and said the current situation has left the country far behind the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on sanitation.
President Mahama made these observations when he commissioned the Accra Sanitary Sewer and Storm water Drainage Alleviation Project at the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) site in Accra, on Wednesday.
He said the $663,299,497 project would be the single largest intervention in sewage and sanitation that Accra has seen, adding that the project is based on a comprehensive study of the sanitation problem in Accra.
The first component of the project would upgrade the sewer and drainage infrastructure within the Odaw Basin, which would include covering, de-silting, dredging, new siltation ponds and removal of refuse from and complete reconstruction of priority drains and restoration of the Korle Lagoon.
The second component would restore operation to the existing Accra Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, implement an overall solid waste collection program and supplement it with new equipment.
Thus, the project would be based on the latest engineering solutions to resolve the problem and "revolutionarise sewage and sanitation in Accra", he noted.
The president indicated that this intervention has become necessary because previous effort, such as clearing of drains, lining drains with concrete and demolition of structures in water ways were done in an adhoc manner.
However, this project would ensure the proper handling of solid and liquid waste through sorting and particularly "eliminate the sight of trucks dumping liquid waste into the sea, a thing of the past."
He said ultimately, the project would improve Accra's flood protection and wastewater treatment, elevate Accra's overall quality of life and advance the city's standing as a Millennium City.
Additionally, if the project becomes successful, it would be replicated in other regional capitals and urban centers that are also grappling with sanitation problems, he stated.
Furthermore, he called on all citizens to play a role in ensuring that desired results are achieved, saying "after the drains have been de-silted, we will achieve desired results if we change our attitudes."
He stressed that: "We should all spread the awareness and be good citizens of Accra, to have a city that we will be proud of.
"He ended by expressing confidence in the construction company, Conti Infrastructure Ghana Limited, to use its technological advancements in the construction industry to help create a clean capital city.
Explaining the details of the project, the Mayor of Accra, Mr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije said it is estimated at $595,732,000 ($538,299,497 EX-IM financed cost and $125,000,000 Standard Charted/World Bank financed cost, totaling $663,299,497 with fees).
He said the key project partner is the Conti Infrastructure Ghana Limited, a US company based in Ghana, with over 106 years of construction experience, while the local partners are Zoomlion and Watertech.
According to him, the main elements of the project include an immediate cleaning and excavation of approximately 150,000 m3 in the Odaw Channel, central business district drain and KLERP Interceptor area.
Others are provision of waste collection equipment, twenty new waste collections truck and three caterpillar loaders for waste loading and sorting.
In the second phase, there would be installation of approximately 15 km storm sewer and combination sewer works, perform high priority drain upgrades at Mateheko, Mampon, South Kaneshie, Odorna, Osu klottey, Apenkwa, Ring Road and Bamboi Drains.
According to him, the project would drastically improve Accra's flood protection and wastewater treatment, manage all surface water (run-off and sewer) in Accra and beyond, and advance Accra's ecology, economy and tourism.
To achieve this, he pointed out that there would be construction of a new solid waste recyclable sorting facility to increase the current capacity, assist AMA in developing a comprehensive, modern, innovative and cost effective solution for the overall waste situation among others.
Overall, the project "is aimed at improving the drainage and sewer systems in the Accra metropolis, focusing on the flood zone in the Odaw Basin and beyond, to alleviate flooding and insanitary conditions once and for all", he noted.