The Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) will on Friday organise a stakeholders’ forum on sanitation to garner support to control the country’s waste management challenges.
The one-day event, to be held at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel in Accra, will bring together experts in waste management and health to deliberate on sustainable ways of waste management in the country.
Speakers at the event on the theme: “Managing sanitation: How to lift the nation from filth”, will include the Guest of Honour, Mr Kofi Adda, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources; Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies; Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service; Mr Peter Abum Sarkodie, the Chief Executive of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Mr Kwame Asiedu Asubonteng, an environmental sanitation consultant.
Being spearheaded by the Daily Graphic, the flagship newspaper of the GCGL, the event is supported by the ESPA, Zoomlion and OmniBank.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic, the acting Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Ransford Tetteh, said the company was concerned about the filthy environment in some of the country’s major cities and towns.
He said after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s declaration in April last year to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by the end of his first tenure and the subsequent launch of the National Sanitation Campaign in November last year, the country continued to struggle with efforts to clear towns and cities of filth.
Mr Tetteh said the company was, therefore, obliged to support the campaign, just as it did to push the anti-galamsey campaign last year which was yielding dividends with improvement in the turbidity of the country’s waterbodies.
“It appears we have lost the fight against sanitation. Almost all our streets are filthy, gutters choked, plastic and polythene bags almost everywhere. It is unacceptable,” he said.
The acting managing director observed that it was sad people had lost their social responsibility towards the environment.
“As Ghana’s major media house, it is our responsibility to educate the public, as well as seek sustainable ways of dealing with the ever-increasing waste menace,” he added.
He said the company would dedicate the pages of the Daily Graphic and the pages of its other newspapers in collaboration with other media houses, to wage war against filth and educate the public on the need to maintain clean surroundings, since cleanliness was said to be next to godliness.
“Cleanliness will lead to a healthy population and drastically reduce the health budget spent on the treatment of diseases that could easily be prevented by keeping clean surroundings and increase productivity,” he said.
Mr Tetteh observed that Ghana was undeserving of the seventh dirtiest country in the world tag and could emulate the performance of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, which was touted as the world’s cleanest.
“The President’s target is achievable and can be done if all lend our support. It should start from our homes, offices and markets. Let’s be responsible for every space around us,” he added.
He rallied the media, civil society organisations and the public to support the campaign against filth, name and shame those profiting from the waste and those who contribute to the filthy surroundings.
“We know the fight against filth is not easy because the infrastructure is non-existent and, where it is available, it is not enough to accommodate it,” he added.
He observed that Zoomlion, the country’s leading waste management company, had some resources, such as a compost plant, transfer stations and a waste management treatment plant, but a lot more needed to be done at the governmental, agency, the private sector, and individual levels to tame the filth.
He said the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, for instance, had to up its game by providing the necessary logistics, such as waste disposal points, to deal with the situation.
Commenting on the event, Mr Agyepong said the topic was good, saying: “There is the need to use all the talk and conferences to tackle the problem once and for all.”
“This is the last chance and after that the GCGL and other media houses must launch a campaign against what I call the canker of filth,” he added.
He said although the private sector was working, it needed support from the public, while the laws of the assemblies were helpless in effecting the change.
“The media should lead the crusade, set the agenda, name and shame and lead a campaign or movement to rid the country of filth once and for all,” he noted.