Illegal refuse dumps, unauthorised structures threat to clean Accra

BY: Timonthy Ngnenbe
 Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah (arrowed) making a point at a refuse dump at the Mallam Market that is being reclaimed. With her is the Chief Executive of the AMA, Mr Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah (left)
Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah (arrowed) making a point at a refuse dump at the Mallam Market that is being reclaimed. With her is the Chief Executive of the AMA, Mr Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah (left)

Illegal refuse dumps and unauthorised structures on water courses still remain a major threat to the government's agenda to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.

Although the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has taken steps to clear such dump sites, it is emerging that the battle against filth is far from over because residents of some parts of the city still dump refuse at unauthorised places, making the battle against filth a daunting one.

Event

The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR), Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who toured some of the illegal dump sites in Accra yesterday, stated that the unhealthy sites would be cleared and the land reclaimed for other purposes.

She said the reclamation process would involve the mining of plastics from the dumping sites and converting non-plastic refuse into manure.

Among the areas the minister and her entourage visited were the Mallam and the Glefe markets in the Ablekuma East and Ablekuma West municipalities, respectively, and the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) off the Korle Bu Mortuary Road.

The team, which included the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, also inspected some drains in Osu in the Klottey Korle Sub metro.

Observations

During the tour, it was observed that the management of plastic waste still required more attention.

At the refuse dump near the Mallam Market, for instance, work was ongoing to reclaim the vast land that was filled with plastic waste.

At the Glefe dump site, the situation was even more dire because some unauthorised structures were on the access route to the site, making it difficult for officials of the Ablekuma West Municipal Assembly to clear the refuse.

It was also observed that toilet facilities in the community were substandard, thereby exposing residents to health risks.

The place was also inundated with flood waters following the rains that fell the previous day.

At Osu the drains in the area were choked with plastic waste.

Assurances

Speaking to journalists after the tour, Ms Dapaah said efforts at making Accra the cleanest city in Africa were on course.

She said the ministry would strengthen its collaboration with metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to map out effective strategies to rid the city of filth.

"Plastic waste is a major challenge and so the focus now will be to mine the plastic, so that it can be recycled for other purposes. In the process, jobs will be created," the minister said.

Mrs Dapaah also urged stakeholders, including sanitation service providers, to play their respective roles appropriately to ensure that the war against filth was won.

For his part, Mr Adjei Sowah stated that the AMA would continue to fight filth on all fronts and also improve on the drainage in Accra.

He urged members of the public to dispose of their refuse responsibly.

The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Ablekuma West, Mr George Gray, said there were ongoing engagements with key stakeholders in the Glefe area to make way for unauthorised structures on access routes to the illegal refuse dump to be cleared.