Squatters turn Tema Motorway into refuse dump

BY: Charles Andoh
Some dealers have turned portions of the motorway into a transit point for their businesses
Some dealers have turned portions of the motorway into a transit point for their businesses

Heaps of refuse continue to mount up on sections of the Accra-Tema Motorway, a situation that has become a source of worry to motorists who ply the 19-kilometre highway.

The garbage is believed to be usually ­dumped along the stretch by squatters and passengers on vehicles to and from Accra and Tema who eat and throw the litters on the shoulders of the road.

This is in spite of the number of warnings and arrests made by city authorities over the years.

Last year for instance, 25 tricycle riders were arrested for dumping refuse along the motorway, but that has not deterred others who continue to litter the only motorway in Ghana.


A drive on both the Tema and Accra-bound routes of the motorway showed heaps of refuse dumped on the shoulders of the road.  

At the time of the visit, garbage dumps had been set on fire on the Borteyman stretch. While at the popular “kiosk estates”, piles of garbage had been gathered by the residents along the road.


The Mirror team also realised that after barely two months of demolition exercises carried out on the motorway stretch, some residents appear to be moving back.

Close to the Accra-bound route of the road which was affected by the exercise, some residents had dried their cloths on a line mounted on a felled tree.

Debris from the exercise were also seen along the stretch.

The exercises were carried out simultaneously by the Ayawaso West Municipal Assembly (AWMA), the Tema West Municipal Assembly (TWMA) and other assemblies which man the motorway.

However, the assemblies demolished some portions of the popular kiosk estate, with many illegal structures still untouched.

At the time the team got to the scene at Ashaiman, some officials from the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly were arresting some tricycle riders who were using unapproved u-turns on the stretch, while road users were seen crossing the road at different sections.

Constant monitoring

Reacting to the story, the Chief Technical Officer of the AWMA, Mr Augustine Okai, who doubles as the Chief Building Inspector of the assembly, told The Mirror that the assembly would be monitoring the situation in order to prevent those who might want to return.

When asked why most of the illegal structures were left untouched, Mr Okai said the motorway had been demarcated for different assemblies, and that stretch was not under the AWMA’s jurisdiction.

The Public Relations Officer of the TWMA, Ms Eunice Naa Afutu, accused residents along the stretch of constant littering of the road.

She also stated that the assembly’s boundary ended at the kiosk estate, “while the main area falls under different assemblies”.

Ms Afutu promised that the assembly would collaborate with the other assemblies and move in quickly to clear the mess created on the road.


Over 200 illegal wooden structures stretching from the Accra end of the tollbooth of the motorway towards Shiashi near the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, with some serving as residential accommodation, garages, vulcanising shops and chop bars, were brought down by the AWMA task force in June this year.

A similar exercise was carried out by the TWMA just last month, which affected more than 200 makeshift structures, mostly kiosks, which make up some parts of the slum on the motorway.

According to the Greater Accra Regional Director of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Mr Lawrence L.L. Lamptey, the Executive Instrument (EI 46) from which the motorway land was acquired barred individuals or groups from erecting structures 90 metres or 250 feet from the middle of the highway.

But today, that rule is not being regarded, with many illegal structures, including some factories on the motorway, taking over the motorway.