The Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) has rallied the media, civil society groups and the rest of Ghanaians for a crusade to deal with the mounting filth that has attracted public outcry, bringing pressure to bear on the government to deal with the menace.
Speakers at the sanitation forum, organised by the GCGL, with support from Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Citi Fm, the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) and Omni Bank, said unless there was a change in the mindset of the public, the fight against filth could not be won.
They were unanimous that the country had been overwhelmed by the waste menace because of the attitude of majority of Ghanaians towards littering of the environment, while the laws of the land were also not being enforced.
Coming in the wake of the launch of the Clean Ghana Campaign by the Sanitation Ministry, the forum brought together key personalities from the ministries, department and agencies (MDAs), the academia and the private sector.
Call to action
Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Sanitation, delivering the keynote address. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI & BENEDICT OBUOBI
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, who has come under pressure to save the country from filth lately, commended Zoomlion for its efforts to deal with the sanitation challenge over the years, but said since it was the major beneficiary of the spoils, it ought to do more to rid the country of the canker.
“Zoomlion which has presence in almost all the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies has not been able to effectively deal with the sanitation challenge, so there is the urgent need to get your act together and let us clean Ghana,” he said.
Mr Adda said Zoomlion still remained a force to reckon with in the country’s forward march to tackling its sanitation challenge.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 tonnes of waste is generated in the country daily, with Accra alone accounting for 3,000 tonnes.
The waste, which comes in solid, liquid, electronic and plastic forms, does not only destroy the land, but also end up in water bodies, leading to the reduction of fish stock.
The minister lauded the GCGL for providing a national platform to explore innovative and sustainable ways of dealing with the challenge.
He observed that the time had come for an all-hands-on-deck approach involving all members of the public to rid the country of filth.
Mr Adda revealed that at the policy level, the ministry was finalising processes for the creation of a national sanitation fund and a national sanitation authority to facilitate efforts being made to manage waste.
Additionally, he said plans were advanced to recruit sanitation brigades and marshals in the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in an effort to decentralise the battle against filth in the country.
The minister added that although many steps were being taken by the government in the sanitation sector, including the removal of illegal refuse dumps and the initiative to construct 200,000 household toilets this year, there was the need for all to join the campaign to keep the country clean.
The acting Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Ransford Tetteh, urged stakeholders and the private sector to collaborate to wage a relentless war on filth in line with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s quest to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
“All other media houses, private sector entities, and stakeholders must join the campaign to rid the country of filth as was the case with the war on illegal mining last year,” he said.
Mr Tetteh urged members of the public to be worthy ambassadors of good sanitation by reporting people who polluted the environment.
He called on the Sanitation Ministry to take the bull by the horns to tackle the sanitation challenge despite the daunting task at hand.
Mr Joseph Siaw-Agyepong, Executive Chairman, Jospong of Companies delivering a presentation. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI & BENEDICT OBUOBI
The Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies, Mr Joseph Siaw-Agyepong, gave an assurance that the company had better positioned itself to solve the sanitation challenge of the country.
He said in the wake of the President’s agenda to move the country beyond aid, it was equally important to take the sanitation challenge beyond aid by supporting the private sector to tackle the situation head on.
“The reality of the issue is that if we do not pay for waste collection, we are depriving the private sector of working diligently,” he said, emphasising that service providers were not being paid promptly for their services.
He stressed the need to prioritise the use of refuse bins in households and public places to facilitate the collection of waste.
Mr Joseph Kofi Adda interacting with Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, called for a strong political will and deliberations on national funding initiatives to improve on sanitation in the country.
He further underlined the need for attitudinal change, adding that “it does not matter if we collect all the waste all the time because without a change in our attitudes, we cannot go anywhere.”