Accra is bursting at the seams with all manner of things, including waste. The growing population is outstripping all the facilities meant for residents of the metropolis, including refuse dump sites.
The gateway to West Africa, christened the Millennium City by the city authorities, is virtually buried under the weight of refuse that generates offensive odour in the various suburbs.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) at one stage introduced the polluter pay policy to get those who generate the refuse to contribute to its disposal and management.
We are told that Accra generates about 2,500 tonnes of refuse annually, out of which some are sent to the Abokobi dump site, which was opened 13 years ago as a temporary site for the small population of Abokobi.
At present, the Abokobi dump site has become a major site receiving refuse from Greater Accra, except Tema.
In spite of efforts by the various district assemblies to find a suitable dump site for the refuse generated in their jurisdictions, their efforts are facing challenges because of resistance from landowners.
The growing population and the widespread use of plastic materials to carry all kinds of merchandise and food items have exacerbated the refuse situation in all communities in the country.
The waste management company, Zoomlion, has established the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant at Adjen Kotoku to help solve the challenge facing the management of waste in the city, but the plant’s present capacity cannot contain the refuse generated in Accra and nearby towns.
Before the entry of Zoomlion, there were many smaller companies managing refuse in the city and other places but the sheer volume of refuse has simply overwhelmed these companies.
For quite some time now, Accra has experienced the outbreak of cholera on an annual basis and the near epidemic has been attributed to the poor sanitary conditions in the city.
Last Wednesday, the Ga East Municipal Assembly threatened to shut down the Abokobi dump site to avoid the outbreak of any epidemic in the area.
Somehow, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies must find solutions to the growing menace of insanitary conditions in towns under their jurisdiction.
However, their frustration is manifested in the stand of Zoomlion over the future of the Abokobi dump site.
The Communications Manager of Zoomlion, Mr Robert Coleman, has made it clear that decommissioning the Abokobi dump site will be suicidal for sanitation in Accra, adding that “if it is closed down, Accra will be in crisis”.
Going forward, the Daily Graphic asks about the various initiatives put in place by the government to deal with the disposal and management of refuse in the country.
If we cannot ban plastic bags and other items manufactured from polythene, as is the case in many countries, then we should pay some levy on these items to be used to recycle the waste.
We need to take every pragmatic step to deal with the waste menace before it causes a national catastrophe.
Waste is wealth in some jurisdictions and we can do same here to create jobs and wealth for our people by establishing recycling plants throughout the country.
Source: Daily Graphic
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