…Blames Government For Poor Sanitary Conditions
By Patrick Biddah
It has emerged that, government did no due diligence with respect to capacity and track record in waste management, before awarding contracts to those companies.
It has also emerged that government did more harm than good to residents in parts of the country, when it asked some assemblies to take over the management of waste in their respective jurisdictions without giving the needed financial support to help in running an effective waste management.
Aside the contracts being given to companies without capacity which resulted in the poor sanitary conditions at the landfill sites, government did not also pay the contractors for work done.
In view of these setbacks by government, the disposal of both liquid and solid waste across the country, has worsened and pose critical health risk.
These came to challenge came to fore when three parliamentary select committees toured four regions to ascertain for themselves, the state of waste management in the country.
The committees, included the Local Government and that of the Environment, Science and Technology, as well as the Committee on Works and Housing.
The visit was triggered by the fire outbreak which hit the Kpone engineering landfill site on August 16 this year, causing explosion and continued billowing of smoke into the air, thereby polluting the atmosphere.
The visit took them to the Kumasi Landfill site, the Kpone dumping site ,the Tamale landfill site and ended at the Takoradi landfill site last Friday.
At the end of the tour at the Takoradi landfill site, the Members of the Committees, spoke and registered their disappointment in unison.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee On Works and Housing, Kwaku Asante-Boateng, who is the New Patriotic Member of Parliament for Asante Akyem South, said if contractors are not paid you do not expect them to do anything effective.
In the case of the Takoradi Landfill site, the contract was taken from Waste Landfill Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies, had his contract terminated, although the company should capacity of doing an effective waste management with the setting up of a recycling plant.
A member of the Works and Housing Committee, Solomon Boar, who is also the New Patriotic Member of Parliament for Bunkpurugu, was of the view that the revelation made on their visit, requires a pragmatic and a bi partisan approach to finding a solution.
In the case of Tamale, the Waste Landfill Management Company Limited had not been a dime after the five years it effectively managed the site .
When the assembly took over, the situation has worsened with refuse trucks dampening indiscriminately.
Speaking in that regard, the Ranking Member on Local Government Committee , Nii Lante Vanderpuije ,who is also the Member of Parliament for Odododiodio, stressed the need to resource the assemblies if you want them to be able to contain the situation because waste management requires lot of financial muscles.
He said, it is not about terminating contract just like that or suspending the contracts but also the need to pay contractors government is owing including Waste Landfill Company Limited.
The Member of Parliament for Banda, Ibrahim Banda, who is also the deputy Minority Chief Whip and a member of the Local Government Committee, was not happy with the sanitation spectacle in the Western region, saying there is the need for a stakeholders engagement for the way forward.
“we are going to call for a stakeholders engagement. All the inter ministerial all Ministers involved in handling waste. Local Government, Sanitation and Environment must all be brought on board to make sure we sign the off taker agreement with a company that have the capacity”, he noted.
People who sign contract to manage waste should not be interested in the money but also solving the problem, he added.
Zoomlion Ghana Limited, a waste management expert, he indicated has the capacity to recycle waste they have been doing it in Accra and should be recommended to recycle same in Takoradi and elsewhere that recycling is the way forward for solving waste.