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Don't Pile up refuse on the streets after clean-up exercises

Published by Naa Lamiley Bentil- Daily Graphic (4th February, 2015)

The Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) has described as unfortunate the situation where some residents, after clean-up exercises on national sanitation days, only pile refuse on the streets.

ESPA is an umbrella body of solid and liquid waste collection companies. Its Executive Secretary, Ms Ama Ofori Antwi, said the practice must stop if the National Sanitation Day was to remain meaningful and sustainable.

She expressed the concern of the association in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra. Ms Ofori Antwi said, “The National Sanitation Day is not a time to dump refuse onto the streets. It is a time to clear heaps of refuse from markets, lorry parks and other locations and to also desilt choked drains to ensure that waste water flows freely through the drains.”

She expressed the hope that the negative practice would not be repeated in the next exercise which comes off on Saturday, February 7.

The National Sanitation Day was introduced in December last year by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and takes place on the first Saturday of every month.

It has, however, received low patronage as sections of the society have failed to support the exercise.

“Our observation during the last exercise was the leaving of refuse collected on the streets, which, if not checked, could undermine efforts the government and members of the ESPA were making to keep the environment clean,” she said.

ESPA members not discouraged

Ms Ofori Antwi said members of the association were not discouraged and would continue to support the exercise with logistics, including sanitation equipment and personnel, to help sustain the exercise.

She described contributions from members of the public as important.

According to her, it was pertinent that levels of cleanliness achieved on the national clean-up days were maintained to achieve the desired results.

“Sanitation is health and wealth, and we must all get involved,” she said.

According to some members of the public, the declining interest in clean-up exercises began when the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) introduced the fee and performance-based solid waste collection system some four years ago.

Under the programme, contractors were assigned various zones within the capital to collect refuse that residents made for a monthly fee approved by the AMA.

A resident at Agege, a suburb of Accra, Mr Evans Nartey, said: “I am paying money every month to a waste contractor. Why must I be asked now to go and clear rubbish?” he queried.

But Ms Ofori Antwi said even though Mr Nartey was paying fees for his refuse to be collected, others had failed to register with any waste management company and it was that group of people who were suspected to be dumping refuse indiscriminately as they did not have a company that collected their refuse.

Way forward

She said the association would monitor the situation closely in the next clean-up exercise and also engage the AMA to fashion out a way to manage the state of affairs.

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