By Naa Lamiley Bentil, Accra
The Executive Secretary to the Environmental Services Providers Association (ESPA), Ms Ama Ofori Antwi has called on metropolitan and municipal assemblies to haul to the Sanitation Courts households that have not registered with any waste management company, and hence without litter bins.
In 2010, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) introduced the Fee and Performance Based contract during which they virtually abolished the central container site dumping system.
Under the new policy, all residents were supposed to register with accredited solid waste management company in order for their refuse bins to be emptied to landfill sites. Residents were also required to pay rates agreed on by the assemblies to the contractors for the sanitation services.
“Some residents, particularly in middle and low income areas have failed to register with the accredited companies and have consequently resorted to indiscriminate dumping of their refuse”, Ms Ofori Antwi stated in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
According to her, the assemblies have a responsibility to enforce its own policy which compels the households to register and pay approved rates to waste management companies.
“ We have a public private partnership’ agreement with these assemblies and under that policy, we are responsible for about 70 per cent of the waste collection – registration of households, provision of litter bins, emptying of filled litter bins and haulage of refuse collected from households and other entities to final disposal sites”, she explained.
The assemblies whose core mandate is to ensure that the cities and towns remain clean at all times have about 30 per cent of the responsibility, and that includes the provision of final disposal sites (Landfills) and enforcement of the sanitation bye-laws.
“It appears however, that some of the assemblies have reneged on their responsibility but we as a private sector cannot enforce the bye laws of these assemblies and that it is why we need them to do it on our behalf so we can effectively carry out our duty of keeping the areas where we have been mandated to work clean”, she further added.
“Our responsibility is to sweep, clear, and desilt the gutters but when it comes to the enforcement we are powerless”, she stated.
Ms Ofori Antwi observed that the flooding situation for some areas could be avoided if the nation paid more attention to the management of solid waste.
“The rains are already here but we all know that some areas will be flooded due to choked drains. We are pleading with the households to pay something small for the collection of their waste”, she stated.
Currently, the ESPA is trying to get the government to shift its focus from the curative (NHIS) to the preventive by supporting waste management companies with the required support, she stated adding that “that is the only way we can live a truly healthy life”.
Currently, the government is owing landfill operators and we are pleading that the money is released now to relieve ESPA landfill operation members from the dire financial situation some find themselves. Some of the money have been in arrears for years, for instance Kumasi for over three years. “We do not want a situation where our members will shut the landfills because of the indebtedness”, she stated.