In response to the outbreak of cholera in parts of Accra, President John Dramani Mahama directed the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and all stakeholders in Accra to join forces to rid the city of filth. By way of mobilizing all stakeholders to execute the President’s directive, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Honourable Julius Debra met the National Executive Council members of the Environmental Services Providers Association (ESPA) on 7th August, 2014 at its headquarters in East Legon Accra.
In his welcome remarks, Dr J. S. Agyepong, President of ESPA who chaired the Executive Committee meeting, welcomed the honourable Julius Debra and gave a brief introduction of ESPA to the Minister. He indicated that the Environmental Services Providers Association (ESPA) is an Association of Waste Management Companies providing both solid and liquid waste management services within the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across Ghana. He added that ESPA exists to coordinate the activities of its members to provide environmentally friendly services in the areas of solid and liquid waste management, to influence policy making from an eco-friendly perspective and to advocate for increased private sector participation in the waste management sector. He noted that, as partners in development, ESPA maintains an active collaborative stakeholder relationship with MMDAs and other partners in the delivery and provision of solid and liquid waste management services to the citizenry in line with government’s policy of maintaining a clean and a healthy environment for all.
Dr. Agyepong on behalf of ESPA, enumerated some challenges waste contractors were facing including issues of landfill sites and low fees and charges for waste collection services in the face of high interest rates, a depreciating cedi and high cost fuel and spare parts. ESPA assured the minister of its full support to achieve the government’s objective in the waste management sector. The Association also praised the Minister for showing goodwill in attending its meeting which according to ESPA is a good sign that the Hon. Minister is willing to listen to and work with all stakeholders in the sector to overcome the waste management challenges in Ghanaian towns and cities.
On his part, Hon. Julius Debra thanked ESPA for hosting him on such an important issue and promised to support the private sector particularly waste management contractors to deliver on their mandate and find a lasting solution to waste management challenges in our cities, particularly in Accra. He called for the support of all stakeholders particularly ESPA, in resolving the waste management challenges and its attendant disease outbreaks in our cities.
To demonstrate their support for the minister and the government’s directive to rid Accra of filth, ESPA members agreed to undertake a Public Education and a Cleanup Campaign on Saturday 16th August, 2014 at four strategic markets in Accra: Madina, Accra Central, La and Kaneshi Markets. ESPA members also encouraged each other to work harder regardless of their current challenges to support government’s effort to combat the current cholera outbreak. In light of this, the general public, government agencies and private sector organisations are encouraged to support this public education and cleanup campaign in whatever kind they can to make it a success and to have the desired impact of keeping our cities clean for a healthy and prosperous population.
(Research Coordinator, ESPA)