About 10,000 waste bins that were given to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for distribution to communities and markets in the metropolis cannot be traced.
According to some traders at the central business district (CBD) of Accra, they had neither received any litter bins nor cited them in the markets.
As a result, the traders are often compelled to engage waste contractors to collect their garbage. Others who cannot afford the charges have turned some parts of the markets into junkyards, with the resultant stench that emanates from them.
The traders made this revelation when the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and his deputy, Mr Emmanuel Agyekum, visited the CBD last Wednesday evening to assess the sanitary conditions in the markets.
The visit was also to give the ministry an insight into how waste was being managed within the metropolis, especially in the markets, to avert the outbreak of cholera this year.
At the time of the visit, there was a clean-up exercise in the markets by workers of Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
An excavator was also deployed to the Agblogbloshie Market to clear refuse that had been sitting by the roadside for three days, according to the traders.
Alhaji Dauda also inspected desilting works on the Odawna drain.
However, in a swift reaction to the claim by the traders, the Coordinating Director of the AMA, Mr Sam Ayeh Dartey, explained that the assembly mounted the waste bins at vantage points in the markets.
The waste was then collected at night by sanitary workers of the assembly, after which the bins were kept in a storeroom for use the next day in order to prevent them from being stolen.
“When you come here during the day, you will see the waste bins along the roads, but because they are not stationary, at night people can pick them up and that is why we collect them in the evening,” he indicated.
On measures the assembly had put in place in the markets to contain the worsening sanitation situation, Mr Dartey said the assembly had recruited workers who cleaned and collected refuse from the market three times daily.
Additionally, the director said, the assembly had procured more compacting trucks and tricycles that worked day and night to collect waste in the markets and the metropolis.
Alhaji Dauda expressed disappointment at the development, especially the fact that there were no waste bins in the markets at the time of his visit and demanded that “the bins must be mounted in the markets for use by the traders, even at night”.
He further advised the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) against keeping the litter bins in their storerooms and directed that they should distribute them immediately or face sanctions.
"These litter bins are not store materials. They are to be sent to vantage places in the MMDAs such as schools, lorry parks, markets, along the streets and where people converge," he indicated.
Alhaji Dauda suggested that in order to avert the possibility of people using the litter bins as storage facilities, all MMDAs should perforate and label the bins to prevent them from being stolen.
He lauded the work by Zoomlion and the AMA in desilting the drains to avert the recurrence of floods in the city.
The Greater Accra Regional Manager of Zoomlion, Mr Gershon Sogbey, said the company was committed to ensuring that the city, especially the market, was kept clean at all times.