A night refuse-clearing exercise introduced by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has improved the deplorable sanitation situation in the Central Business District (CBD) of Ghana's second biggest city.
In a departure from the past, people now wake up to an appreciably presentable city centre, where the exercise is focused.
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Since the exercise began about a month ago, the pile of refuse that engulfed the CBD, and the attendant offensive odour they produced have vanished.
For now, the innovative exercise, the baby of the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi, Mr Kojo Bonsu, appears to have become the magic wand to eliminate filth at the city centre.
Insanitary conditions pose tremendous health threats and it is no wonder that residents continue to keep the pressure on the KMA to deliver positively in that respect.
Normally, the clearing starts at around 11 p.m. and continues till every single refuse is cleared from the streets.
Having proved to be the panacea to ridding the centre of Kumasi of filth at least for now, the question is how the exercise could be sustained?
Mr Bonsu has given the assurance that everything possible would be done to ensure that the exercise becomes a permanent feature in the sanitation management of Kumasi.
He told the Daily Graphic that the assembly, in conjunction with private sanitation companies were bent on meeting the demands expected of them in the sustenance of the programme.
Delivering his acceptance speech at the Prempeh Assembly Hall after the general assembly of the KMA endorsed his nomination as MCE a little over two months ago , Mr Bonsu made a firm pledge to rid the city centre of filth within 90 days.
A little over two months into the period he appears to have scored full marks, having supervised the assembly to bring a greater level of sanity to the area through the exercise.
The night sweeping programme is responsible for keeping all major streets and arterials clean of trash and debris.
The KMA believes that regular street sweeping would not only keep the street cleaner and safer, but it would help reduce the amount of trash that enters the storm drain system.
Major arterials and commercial areas are swept at night and residential and other areas are swept during the day.
Sanitation has over the years been one of the greatest problems facing the city of Kumasi.
The Kumasi metropolis currently generates about 1,500 tonnes of solid waste per day.
Even though the city centre has seen some sanity, the general situation in the metropolis appears to be far from over.
Many residents keep complaining that many of the areas of the city, including streets, are not kept as clean and tidy as they should be.
Efforts by the KMA to deal with the problem have not yielded the expected dividends but the Kumasi MCE believes there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Many factors have accounted for the development. Among them is the manner people continue to litter with impunity.
The KMA also complains it does not have the financial wherewithal to meet the huge cost of managing sanitation in the city.
Most of the time it had to fall on the central government for funds to pay private refuse collection contractors.
Surprisingly, in spite of the large amounts of waste produced in the city in a day, no concrete steps have been taken on generating electricity from waste in Kumasi.
A number of African cities have started this project and Kumasi cannot afford to be left behind.
Six years ago, President John Agyekum Kufuor performed the sodcutting ceremony at the landfill site in Kumasi for the construction of a plant to generate between 30 and 52 megawatts of electricity from garbage.
The event was marked with pomp and pageantry, but typical of Ghana, the project could not see the light of day.
All is not lost if the KMA wants to revive the project, provided the needed funds could be secured for the purpose.
By Kwame Asare Boadu/Daily Graphic/Ghana