By Gifty Arthur
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), has accepted the challenge by president Akufo-Addo, to make the capital city, the cleanest in Africa.
Chief Executive of the AMA, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, has said the challenge which was thrown by the president few weeks ago, was apt and promised to make and implement exsiting laws to achieve that vision.
“Concerning law enforcement, the Chief Executive Officer said existing laws would be stringently enforced; explaining that “however, in view of the new vision, we have noted that some of our by-laws would need revision to bring them in line. We have therefore, initiated a holistic review of the by-laws.”, he has said.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Accra, Mr. Sowah, said the challenge to make the city clean, was to beat competition from known cities on the continent of Africa such as Nairobi.
“The President’s vision is not to make Accra clean but the cleanest and most beautiful in Africa, better than Nairobi in Kenya, Johannesburg, and Capetown in South Africa and Port Luis in Mauritius – the acclaimed cleanest cities in Africa.
“It is a vision to which existing action plans and policies may not be able to attain. The vision requires a change in policy.
“Being managers of the city of Accra, AMA in support of the directive of the Ministry of Sanitation wish to assure the President that we see this vision as realistic and achievable within the timeframe and we are ready to take on the challenge,” the new Mayor said.
Mr Sowah maintained that the vision required “a sea change in policy, action plans, city cleaning approaches, enforcement mechanisms and attitude [change].
Being managers of the City of Accra, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in support of the policy directives of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, we wish to assure the President that we see his vision as realistic and achievable within the time frame and ready to take on the challenge”.
The National Sanitation Day held every first Saturday of the month instituted by the John Mahama-led administration, he announced, was going to be intensified to get the people involved, while it by-laws which are not being strictly adhered to, would be implemented henceforth.
“Public patronage of the National Sanitation Day (first Saturday of every new month) is waning woefully.
To ensure compliance, the AMA, will pay attention to inspection and enforcement of its bylaws. On every National Sanitation Day, there will be a special sanitation inspection and enforcement on every national sanitation day; We note with concern the nuisance that the unlicensed waste collection tricycles have been causing in the city. Steps are underway to regulate their operation.
It will be recall that, few weeks ago, president Akufo-Addo at a durbar held in his honour at Mantse Agboona in Accra, promised to make the city rated in the past as one of the dirtiest cities in the world, the cleanest African by the United Nations (UN) in 2015.
He urged city dwellers and environmental stakeholders to support his commitment to rid Accra of filth.
Many are skeptical about the task ahead, but the Mayor says it is doable, hence the outlining of activities to ensure it is carried through in the next four years.
According to the Mayor, the Assembly was focused on waste management and beautification of the city and indicated their preparedness to work alongside private sector sanitation companies.
He announced the AMA jurisdiction, has been divided into 15 service zones and outsourced to 11 private waste management companies, including Zoomlion Ghana Ltd, which would be working to keep the city clean and beautiful.
He warned, “We will be tough on the excessive generation and indiscriminate disposal of all types of wastes – solid, liquid, medical, hazardous emissions as well as land, water, and atmospheric pollution.
We will not renege on our effort to stop the disposal of dirty oil into the soil by automobile mechanics, incessant burning of e-waste on bare ground and disposal of untreated biomedical waste into the ground without treatment,” he said.
The vision when followed through, would make the city not only clean, but attractive to both dwellers and visitors alike
“Accra must look attractive at all times to give residents and visitors a sense of pride. Beautiful cities attract talents, investments and economic activities thereby increasing the city’s unique contribution to the nation’s GDP,” he said.
Law breakers he insisted ,would have it very difficult and tough with the authorities “As part of this, the review penal consequences for breaching the laws of the city will be heightened. Offenders will no long be handled with kids’ gloves. There will be an ongoing public education to make the public aware of the requirements of the law,” he said.
To this end, a dedicated WhatsApp hotline numbers; 0202464444 OR 0202464411, for reporting and sending photographic evidence of fly tipping to AMA was provided.
“We must be citizens and not spectators”. City dwellers must be the watchdogs and ensure that undignified waste disposals are photographed and reported to AMA for immediate action.