By Frank Amponsah
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that Government is planning to acquire, three new sites to serve as integrated material recovery sites to address the issue of waste disposal.
The three sites will be located at Otinibi, Nsumia Number 3 in the Adoagyiri Municipality, and another in the Gbawe/Mallam area.
According to the President government is also exploring other regions to ensure that there are adequate, modern, engineered and environmentally acceptable sites for the processing of waste nationwide.
The President said this at the launch of the National Sanitation Campaign at the Banquet Hall of the State House, yesterday.
He said, the policy of government to acquire and own these sites, in partnership with the private sector will ensure that management service contracts of these sites will be awarded through a competitive tendering process so as to ensure fair play and avoid monopoly.
Government, the President said, is also providing assistance to environmental service providers, who clean up the cities and towns.
He said: “These measures include assisting them with access to credit facilities, and defining a tax regime that will enable them procure new and effective tools for their work… Modern, new state-of-the-art trucks and equipment are of the utmost necessity to deliver on this objective, and I intend to make it happen.”
The President also stated that indiscipline has been a major cause of the unsanitary situation in most parts of the country, adding that it is not in the nature of Ghanaians to be dirty and that “We keep our immediate surroundings at our homes very clean. However, for one reason or the other, when we step out of these immediate surroundings, we seem to ignore all of these positive attitudes. Successive Ghanaian governments have tried to reverse this trend and inculcate a habit of greater discipline in the care of our surroundings. It has not succeeded. My government intends to walk a new path.”
He also indicated that waste is generated every day which places an obligation on the citizenry to do daily clean-up exercise.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “Every Day Is Sanitation Day” and that recognizing the fact that government cannot do it alone, he is calling on all especially our Chiefs and Queen Mothers, religious and opinion leaders, civil society organisations, private sector operators, to rise up to the challenge and “help make a difference this time around.”
He averred that every government department and agency, including the Seat of Government, is assigning two officers, to be designated Sanitation Marshal and Deputy Marshal, to oversee compliance of their outfits and their staff to the laid down by-laws with regard to sanitation in their respective offices.
Ministers, Chief Executives and Chief Directors of government departments and agencies will be held accountable for any lapses in the failure to comply with this directive, the President stressed.
He said: “the heads of departments have one week within which to identify and assign these officers. The Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate must take steps to train these appointed officers on their new roles within one month of their appointment.”
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo revealed that a corps of young men and women, the National Sanitation Brigade, will see to the enforcement of rules and regulations on sanitation, whether in state establishments, in private establishments or households.
“The personnel of this outfit would conduct regular visits to all offices to ensure that there is compliance and, where it so requires, take legal action against those infringing on the laws,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo noted that “we will commence with the Government business district, which covers the Presidency, Parliament House, the Ministries, and the Courts. We will focus on the ceremonial and arterial roads going in and out of the city, to ensure that they are regularly cleaned up,” to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa,
He assured that “we shall take special care of the airport, major hotels and shopping malls/centres. Residential areas, and zongos, Central Business District, including the inner city periphery, markets and lorry parks, university campuses, schools and hospitals, and beaches and public places of entertainment and tourist centers are all going to elicit special attention.”
Touching on the value chain of sanitation in Accra, President Akufo-Addo noted that a rezoning the concessions, equipping of tri-cycle operators and construction of mini-transfer stations to facilitate the rapid collection and transportation of waste from the cities will be done.
Additionally, the deployment of automated sweepers in main streets, and the deployment of Sanitation Brigade personnel along the streets and in major concentrations will be undertaken.
“I will not be left out of this exercise. I will be directly involved, as I intend to monitor activities of the national campaign, to ensure that its goals are attained. I will review, on a quarterly basis, with the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, the performance of each Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly, and publish the results of the review,” he said.
The President continued, “This campaign is not going to be a nine-day wonder. It will run over the entire period of my mandate to ensure that Ghana is clean. I remain committed to this, and I am determined to ensure that the job is done.”
On his part, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Kofi Adda, has outlined plans for more resource allocation by government to address water and sanitation challenges in the country.
According to him, there is the need for an increase in budgetary allocation since it takes the full complements of other inputs including adequate land, human resource capacity, policy framework, credit facility to turn waste into wealth.
He also touched on the importance of effective monitoring in the water sanitation sectors.
He said government considers the ministry as a key catalyst in achieving one of his flagship programmes hence want to double the resources to about 3 per cent of the allocation, but will come from the strategic plan that they hope to put together.
Mr. Adda said the ministry is working fervently on getting all the other ministries interested and involved in water and sanitation issues through its marketing tool of total sanitation strategy initiative.
He asserted that between now and the end of the year, the ministry has projected the construction of about 20,000 toilets countrywide.
The minister however indicated that whereas water sector achieved its target, basic sanitation lagged far behind with a coverage rate of 15 per cent as against an MDG target of 54 per cent.