21 January 2013

Ghana: TMA Moves to Improve Sanitation in Tema

Edward Mba, Head of the Waste Management Department of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), has disclosed that his outfit has come out with new measures that will enhance waste management operations within the Metropolis, especially refuse collection.

Hitherto, the service providers go round the various communities throughout the Metropolis and collect the refuse, and the service beneficiaries pay the fees to the Assembly, which in turn, pays the service providers, otherwise referred to as contractors.

However, some of the service beneficiaries have refused to pay their fees to the Assembly promptly. This has led to the refusal of the service providers to keep their promise to collect the refuse as scheduled, thus creating heaps of refuse at designated points throughout the Metropolis.

Under the new arrangement, the service providers will collect their fees at the refuse collection point to ensure that whatever refuse they collect is paid for by the beneficiary.

Mr. Mba noted: "We have expanded coverage of refuse collection to all parts of the Tema Metropolis. Admittedly, we are transiting from the old arrangement to a new one, in which the service providers will collect the waste and collect the appropriate fees directly from the service beneficiaries, to guarantee the availability of funds to the service providers at all times to pay for their operations.

"In this kind of arrangement, TMA becomes the regulator and a monitor to make sure that service beneficiaries are not short-changed by the service providers," he explained.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the paper at his office on Thursday, Mr. Mba disclosed that the refuse would be collected from every premises at least once a week, adding that the providers are to supply bins to the beneficiaries on a gradual basis.

According to Mr. Mba, under the new arrangement, which has already taken off, all the nine contractors operating within the Tema Metropolis are to provide the Assembly with their work schedules to ease monitoring.

On the issue of refuse spillover at the Tema Community One market area, and the queue of wheel barrows or trucks to dump their refuse at the site, Mr. Mba explained that it was as a result of the influx of waste from other sectors of the Metropolis other than the Community One Central Business area.

"We have agreed with the service providers to increase the number of containers at the point, as well as the frequency of the collection. This we hope to achieve by next week."

He, however, explained that the queue may have to be maintained for a while. "But, what we want to avoid is the refuse on the ground, and the spillover at the market."

He indicated that the problem with the sewerage system in Tema comes in two folds; one is the attitudinal or human factor, and the other has to do with the age of the facility.

"People also dump all manner of items into the sewer. Things we remove from the sewer include sponges, textiles, shoes, jeans, silt (sand), and polythene. What are all these things doing in the shit hole?" He queried.

Mr. Mba continued that the system was old and that they would need a massive injection of capital to renew the system, but which is not readily available.

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