Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Nov. 23, GNA – Mr Opia Mensah Kumah, a former United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, has called for the need to harness technology to address the issue of waste management in the country.
He cited major transformation technologies in waste management industry such as composting, recycling, waste to energy and landfill modernisation.
Mr Kumah advocated for household waste collection and the elimination of community container bins; declaring that the nation could adopt these technologies and measures to make Accra and other cities in the country very clean.
He said in order to resolve the issue of waste management, there is the need for a strong political will on the part of the government adding that waste management must be addressed pragmatically.
Mr Kumah made the appeal in his presentation at the 102nd Ordinary Meeting of the Ghana Association of Former International Civil Servants (GAFICS) in Accra.
GAFICS was formed on 14th September 2000 and comprises former Ghanaian Professional Staff of the United Nations and other International Intergovernmental Organizations.
Its members are committed to the United Nations principles of mutual understanding and cooperation and appreciate the opportunities they have had to acquire skills and expertise, working with international and inter-governmental organisations which could be beneficial to national development.
Consequently, GAFICS is desirous of making a contribution towards the social and economic development of Ghana as well as promoting the welfare of its members.
Mr Kumah, who spoke on the topic “Governance and Filth: Urban Waste Management in Africa”, used case studies from Kigali in Rwanda and Moroni in the Union of Comoros to explain how these two countries were able to overcome the waste menace.
“I first visited Kigali in 1985. At that time, a French colleague of mine described the city as “une grande bananerie” - one big banana plantation. That description was apt. The city did indeed seem to comprise mainly of thatch-roofed huts and a few modern buildings scattered amidst lush, mostly banana, foliage,” he said.
“Fast forward to the 21st century, and we have a different image. In the past decade or so, Kigali has undergone a near miraculous transformation. Today it is undoubtedly among the cleanest and most ordered cities anywhere. The thatch-roof houses have disappeared. And there isn’t a stray piece of paper, plastic or any kind of litter to be found anywhere. How did this change happen?”
He attributed the Rwandan success story to visionary and bold leadership, a laser focus on development and pragmatic solutions that deliver results not slogans.
With regards to Accra, Mr Kumah said the three defining waste management challenges of the city were waste collection and disposal, the plastic curse and drainage and flood control; stating these three were inextricably linked and combine for significant public health, economic and socio-political effect.
Mr Kumah, who is also a GAFICS Member, said in Accra affluent communities are clean whilst poor communities were filthy; stating that for the majority no household waste collection exists but rather community container bins, which develop into rubbish mountains.
He said for the city as a whole, there is the problem of inadequate waste disposal and transformation infrastructure.
Mr Kumah called for the installation of bins everywhere, regular collection of waste – daily, semi-weekly, weekly depending on type of location and density, varying collection and conveyance vehicles – from mopeds to tricycles to trucks, eliminating Rubbish Mountains and converting them into green spaces.
Mr Kwaku D. Osei-Bonsu, President of GAFICS, said in order to address the waste menace in the country, there is the need for strict enforcement of the sanitation by-laws of the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
Mr Wonderful B. Ghartey, Founder and Director, SHAPE Attitude Ghana, said to address the waste problem in the country, there is the need for attitudinal change among the citizenry towards waste management and disposal.