By Gifty Arthur
The President, John Dramani Mahama on Friday, finally closed down the over century old, “Lavender Hill” at Korle Gornno, with the “New Lavender Hill” which he has rated as his proudest project.
“Today we are ending an ugly spectacle. Today “is particularly a happy day for me because Lavender Hill as it was called ironically and paradoxical name is going to be closed today”, the president said.
He went on “under my government we have undertaken many projects but if there is any one project that I feel very proud about, it is what we have been able to achieve today, to close down Lavender Hill”, he said amidst cheers and applauds from an excited crowd.
According to him, “it is said that, the most important projects are not those that are tangible, they are the ones that are intangible that you don’t see that make the most significant change in the lives of our people, and transform our country. This is one of such transformational project”.
The infamous site, according to historical record, has existed for the past 110 years, but has been replaced with an ultra-modern state-of the-art treatment plant called, “Lavender Hill Faecal Treatment Plant” at a ceremony last Friday.
The President, who performed the double ceremony to symbolically closedown the old Lavender Hill and commission the new plant, said he always felt embarrassed about the site, hence the decision to work towards it complete shutdown.
The US$25 million plant, according to the president, started in 2014, after he started talks with chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong in 2013, immediately he assumed office as president.
The new plant, will process human excreta from areas in the Accra metropolis and others like the LEKMA, Ga South Municipal Assembly into biogas.
Lavender Hill Faecal Treatment Plant, which is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the government and Sewage System Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Jospong Group of Companies, has a 20-year lifespan and will be managed by the latter.
The commissioning of the plant, will mean no truck driver in the metropolis, will have a reason to dump liquid waste into the ocean, the president warned.
President Mahama, was particularly delighted about the project, said the improper disposal of liquid waste into the ocean had become an embarrassment to him personally, because he was sometimes told in the face by friends from outside that Ghana’s beaches are not hygienic because faecal matter was dumped into the sea.
“I have always felt a sense of shame anytime this issue has been raise by our international partners, or even tourists who visits our country.
There are several of my friends I have received and I asked if they have gone to enjoy our beach and they say no we are told Ghana’s beaches are not safe and that you pour faecal waste into the sea. It always filled me with a sense of shame”, President Mahama said.
He described the old Lavender Hill, as “a scar on the conscience of our nation” therefore its closure served as a source of joy to him.
The first of its kind in the sub-region plant will serve a population of two million people. He announced that similar plants will be built in all regional capitals, bigger towns and districts with large population.
According to him, the 2, 400 cubic meter a day capacity septic treatment plant “will provide more conducive air in this environment especially for our people living around Korle Gornno all the way to James Town and to Chorkor and other places. This will give us a more decent and environmentally acceptable way of managing our waste. We are putting the past behind us and will never return to it”.
The facility which is a holistic waste recycling plant, will also perform various activities such as recycling processes which includes laboratory, screening, primary, settling raw septic treatment, sludge, dewatering, to ensure that the end product is safe and is of high quality to be used in efficient energy generation.
The facility, he believed was going help Ghana, attain the Sustainable Millennium Development Goal.
Managing Director of Sewage System Ghana Limited, Saeed Hiada, said the plant would serve some 2 million people, and revealed that the project has already created 450 jobs.
He encouraged neighboring countries to explore the opportunity by initiating same in their respective countries.
The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Collins Dauda, was happy the many law suits that were filed against the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) as result of the old Lavender Hill, were going to be done with.
Gbese Mantse, Nii Ayibonte, highly commended President Mahama for the many projects initiated in the Greater Accra Region.
He prayed for his second term bid and asked that more Gas be appointed in his next administration.