The Ghana Health Service has warned of the possibility of another cholera outbreak due to the lack of refuse dumping sites in the Accra metropolis.
The Service says it is worried about the health implications of the improper disposal of waste generated by the estimated four million inhabitants of the capital.
Early this week, Citi News broke news of the piling of refuse in front of several residences in the capital following reports of lack of a permanent and reliable dumping site.
The Waste Service Management companies have expressed worry about the situation saying they are forced to abandon the refuse at various homes.
The Head of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Joseph Amankwa told Citi News a rapid solution is required to rectify the problem.
He says if care is not taken, there could be a major health disaster.
“For us in the health sector, we will point out health issues associated with sanitation and what should be done. And we expect that those who are in charge of protecting the environment also do their bit, and bye-laws must be enforced as far sanitation issues are concerned”.
Inasmuch as Dr. Amankwa wants bye-laws to be enforced, he expects the city authorities to make alternative places available for residents to dump their refuse so they do not litter indiscriminately.
"The problem is that, if you tell me not to use this place or that place, you need to provide an alternative place for me. These are the real issues that affect us. And that brought the cholera outbreak not long ago. The rains have just begun and the likelihood of another outbreak is very high because usually, when there is an outbreak of cholera, a number of people still carry germs and these same people will contaminate our source of water and that’s not very good for us as individuals and as a nation” he noted.
Meanwhile, private waste management firm Zoomlion is resorting to compositing a chunk of waste collected in the capital to mitigate the severe effects that could result from the worsening garbage situation in the country.
All three refuse dump sites in the capital are full and have been closed down. Residents living close to alternative dump sites are opposing the use of their areas for that purpose.
Oscar Provencal, Public Relations Officer of Zoomlion, told Citi News his outfit is adopting different measures to dispose of more than one third of the rubbish it collects.
“We saw this coming for quite some time and I believe the authorities also saw it coming. But one of the ways out is what we are doing, which is using a composite and recycling plant to ensure that we reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill site. Accra basically produces 2, 200 tonnes of rubbish a day and what we have established will be able to process close to about 600-900 tonnes a day. So that is the kind of direction we should be heading to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste” he noted.
Meanwhile the General Secretary of the Environmental Service Providers Association has told Citi News the Ablekuma dump site was supposed to have been reopened a few days ago but that has not happened.
Mr. Evans Arthur says the situation is severely affecting the work of the waste management firms.
The last cholera outbreak in Ghana, between January and April 2011, claimed more than 60 lives with over 5,000 cases reported across the country.
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