President Akufo-Addo (3rd left) cutting the tape to commission the sanitation trucks in Accra. With him are Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah (2nd right), Sanitation Minister; Mr Henry Quartey (right), Greater Accra Regional Minister, and Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong (arrowed), Chairman, Jospong Group.  ABOVE: Some of the trucks. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
President Akufo-Addo (3rd left) cutting the tape to commission the sanitation trucks in Accra. With him are Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah (2nd right), Sanitation Minister; Mr Henry Quartey (right), Greater Accra Regional Minister, and Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong (arrowed), Chairman, Jospong Group. ABOVE: Some of the trucks. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

Improving waste management: President commissions 126 trucks

The quest to enhance sanitation services in the country and thereby improve the health of the people received a tremendous push yesterday when Zoomlion Ghana Limited unveiled 101 waste management trucks and 25 disinfection trucks for deployment in the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

The trucks will be used to cart waste from business districts and other communities to landfill sites and waste management facilities.

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In addition, the vehicles will help the ongoing disinfection exercise of spaces and institutions which was rolled out following the outbreak of the COVID-19.

According to the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Zoomlion had secured funding from its partner, SCANIA, and other financial institutions (ABSA, Ecobank, Zenith and Stanchart) for the procurement of 500 new waste trucks at a cost of 40 million Euros, in addition to 5,000 units of multi-purpose tricycles, at a cost $10 million.

The trucks, which were unveiled yesterday by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, constituted the first batch of the entire package, which is meant to augment the company’s existing fleet of vehicles to improve waste collection and transportation in the country.

Population

President Akufo-Addo said rapid population growth, with its consequent increase in human activities at the residential, commercial and industrial levels, meant that waste generation activities continued to be a challenge.

He said currently, the country generated some 7.5 million tonnes of waste daily, a situation that presented enormous investment opportunities of which the private sector could take advantage.

“I would, therefore, reiterate my invitation for more private sector companies to collaborate with government in creating business opportunities in waste management, such as waste-to-energy, materials, recovery, recycling and compositing,” he said.

Create

President Akufo-Addo said the government remained committed to achieving its development objective, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include Health under Goal Three, Waste and Sanitation under Goal six, Decent Work and Economic Growth under Goal eight, Sustainable Cities and Communities under Goal 11 and Climate Change under Goal 13.

He stated that the government was collaborating with the Jospong Group of Companies, of which Zoomlion was part, to set out 16 state-of-the-art integrated recycling and composition plants in all the 16 regions of the country.

He said he had been informed that the construction of the waste facilities, which was captured in his state of the nation address earlier this year, was on course and at various stages of development.

Benefits

The President said placing that infrastructure in the regions came with accompanying benefits, such as the creation of jobs and improvement in social amenities, such as potable water and extension of electricity, all of which would help improve the domestic economy.

He noted that the success of municipal waste management was tied to the collection of and the transportation of waste to the final disposal sites, hence the procurement of the 101 trucks by Zoomlion was in good direction.

Support

The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Dan Botwe, assured Zoomlion of the ministry’s strong support and partnership as part of efforts in achieving improved environmental health and sanitation.

He said the ministry would collaborate with other related ministries to achieve the SDGs.

Mr Botwe further gave an assurance that the ministry would ensure that the trucks were put to good use.

Waste bins

The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said the ministry was leading the government’s agenda to distribute 20,000 waste bins in Kumasi, Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale and to some selected institutions, including the police, the military and the Ghana Journalists Association.

So far, she said, 8,100 of the bins had been distributed.

She said although some of the bins had been destroyed, the ministry would not be perturbed but would continue to inculcate the habit of hygiene in Ghanaians.

Collaboration

When he took his turn to address the gathering, Mr Agyepong said the trucks would be used to augment the current fleet available to MMDAs across the country to enhance their collection of solid waste.

He said the government’s collaboration with the private sector to work in making Accra the cleanest city in Africa was worthy of mentioning.

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He announced that 50 women were being trained, together with their men counterparts at the Ghana Armed Forces Supplies and Transport Training School, on defensive driving and effective operation of the trucks.

Graphic and others

Mr Agyepong called for support for existing initiatives, such as the Environmental Care Campaign by the Church of Pentecost, the Chief Imam’s Campaign on Cleanliness, as well as projects by civil society groups, the Graphic Communications Group Limited and other media partners.

Such initiatives, he said, would contribute to make the country clean.

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