Waste management companies, have appealed to Government to consider adjusting fees for the collection of refuse to enable them work effectively and efficiently to keep Ghana clean.
President of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), Dr. Joseph Siaw- Agyepong, argued that high cost of acquiring and maintaining machines, coupled with other expensive materials in the market is making their operations very difficult, thereby threatening Government’s quest to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Seven.
“From the perspective of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Target 7 on environment sustainability, the evidence from our own country indicates that at the current rates of progress, the sanitation target of halving the proportion of people without basic sanitation by 2015 is most likely unattainable”.
He noted that changes in operational costs, do not warrant a corresponding increase in collection rates or processing fees, explaining that fees are enacted in the by-laws of the Assemblies and the by-laws have to be modified or amended before any new fees can be charged.
But “a strong ESPA can complement government’s effort in its drive to accelerate the pace towards achieving the MDG 7 in a timely manner”, ESPA President who doubles as Zoomlion boss, said at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), last Wednesday during a stakeholders’ meeting”.
Dr. Siaw-Agyepong, revealed that research has shown over the years that indigenous concepts have always worked perfectly than those adopted from elsewhere.
The event was used to launch the re-branding of thirteen year-old ESPA.
ESPA is re-rebranding itself in order to make it more reflective and responsive to changing landscape in the delivery of sanitation services and the management of waste in the country.
It was under the theme, “Coming together to keep Ghana Clean”.
The boss of waste management giant, Zoomlion Ghana, identified lackadaisical attitude of Ghanaians towards sanitation issues as one major factor, hampering Ghana’s fight against filth, adding that ESPA needs to be actively involved in the implementation of policies on sanitation.
He said, if stringent measures are not adopted by stakeholders, the millions of cash injected by government and its donor partners to fight unsanitary conditions will amount to nothing in the long run.
“It is time for us to bring the environmental service provider into sharp focus in our implementation plans. Otherwise scores of donor support for sanitation and waste management may not yield the desired impact”, he stressed.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLRD), Akwesi Oppong-Fosu, challenged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to work harder, warning that President John Mahama’s assessment of performance contract with the Ministry, was mainly going to be on how well they keep their communities tidy.
He announced that very soon, the Ministry will publish the first and last ten Assemblies that will perform well in curbing unsanitary practices, adding that the last ten will accordingly be punished.
Mr. Oppong-Fosu, was impressed at how ESPA, has grown from 10 members to an impressive 50 in a relatively short time.
The Executive Secretary for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mrs. Cindy Baidoo, tasked ESPA to take education of the public serious to facilitate better management of the environment.
A solidarity message from the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), commended the organization for it decision to re-brand to suit the changing
trend of the environment, and called on ESPA to partner them to push for better policies to manage the environment.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism Culture and the Creative Arts, Dzifa Aku Gomashie, urged ESPA to use drama and new media to educate the public on good environmental practices whiles working towards behavioural change.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodio, Nii Lante Vanderpujie, identified new ways of fighting unsanitary practices as very crucial.
Disagreeing with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpujie that Accra lacked landfill site, the MP insisted that the time has come for Ghana to face out that landfill site.
He said his Ministry is committed to supporting any organization that will present programmes intended to invest and adding value to waste for Ghana to rake in some benefits.
“Let us rebrand our ideas towards waste management”, he challenged.
Speaking on behalf of the various Committees on Lands and Sanitation in Parliament, the MP for Wa West and former Minister of LGRD, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, assured the Association of their commitment and preparedness to pass any policy presented to the August House on sanitation or the environment to help make Ghana a cleaner and safer place to live.