The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) have jointly called on the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government to as a matter of urgency attend to all sanitation-related issues critically in order not to lose the fight against filth.
In a joint press conference in Accra yesterday at the Coconut Grove Hotels, the group said at the 30th Mole conference held at Ho last year, the two entities-CONIWAS and ESPA-came together to press home demands for government to consider water and sanitation issues critically and especially establish the National Sanitation Authority (NSA) as a matter of urgency.
Since then, ESPA/CONIWAS sought to engage the media on a monthly basis to help educate and create the needed awareness on sanitation and waste management issues and challenges across the country for policy makers to help address.
Addressing the press, the Vice President of CONIWAS, Mr. Arthur Arhin, said poor sanitation results in about 19,000 mortality cases as 6 out of 10 diseases in Ghana such as Cholera and Malaria are linked to poor sanitation.
He said the private sector players in the waste and sanitation industry continue to face many daunting challenges and their operations are saddled with many setbacks while the government does not show enough focus in the sector.
He mentioned policy documents; including the Environmental Sanitation Policy (2010), Environmental and Hazardous waste Bill (2016), Ghana Landfill Guidelines, Municipal Solid Waste Management Guidelines (Draft), National Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plan (NESSAP), District Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plan (DESSAP), Strategic Environmental Sanitation Investment Plan (SESIP), Household Water Treatment and Storage Guidelines, Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (RSMS) and the Plastic Management Policy (draft) as policies that have all been formulated to provide some level of support for addressing the country’s poor environmental sanitation situation and yet these policy efforts does not reflect in a drastic improvement in the sanitation situation in the country.
Mr. Arhin said the biggest venture by the government so far is the President’s promise to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by the end of his first term in 2020 which he expressed fears will not come to pass with the kind of posture government actors have towards the menace.
He stated that the private sector manages over 80% of waste generated in the country and provides over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in the waste management value chain.
Mr. Arhin who works for World Vision did not mince words in announcing that the private sector leads in the delivery of expertise in the sanitation industry by the introduction of innovative and modern technologies.
He said it is the private sector that leads also in the provision of waste and sanitation infrastructure following the introduction of the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant(ACARP), the Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant(IRECOP), the Kumasi Compost and Recycling Plant(KCARP), Universal Plastic Products and Recycling Limited (UPPR) and the Fortifier Plants among others such as Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited which has solved the over hundred years problem of direct dislodgement of faecal matter into the Atlantic Ocean at Korle-Gono, in Accra.
In enumerating their challenges, Mr. Arthur Arhin said there is consistently lack of serious and no deliberate Private-Public Partnerships (PPP) policies between government and the private sector in the area of waste management which he described as worrying.
He was bitter that whilst the landfills such as Kpone and Oti are at the verge of collapse government owes private landfill managers up to the tune of forty-two million Ghana cedis.
He said low tariffs and lack of government support in the area of tax exemptions have attributed to the inability of the private sector to effectively collect and treat waste.
He, therefore, called on the President to as a matter of urgency pay the private waste managers to be able to effectively be responsible for their mandate.
The Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ms Ama Ofori Antwi in answering questions from the media said the government should deliberately support the private sector to expand infrastructure in the industry to augment the few existing ones.
She said the government should also support existing private waste treatment facilities with financial incentives such as off-taker agreements to operate effectively for the benefit of the nation Ghana.
Ms Ofori Antwi appealed to the government to revisit the fee fixing arrangement to ensure realistic pricing for waste managers to be able to operate without any hindrances.
She was of the viewed that government should take the bold decision and act to establish the National Sanitation Authority to support streamlining policies and policy directions for a better tomorrow in the water and sanitation sector.
“The President should declare a presidential special initiative to target the expansion of toilet facilities in every home across the country” she said.