General News of Friday, 18 January 2013
President John Dramani Mahama has broken the ground to kick start a project that is expected to find lasting solutions to Accra’s perennial flooding and waste management challenges.
The five-year $663,299,496 Accra Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Drainage Alleviation Project falls under two main components - first to upgrade the sewer and drainage infrastructure within the Odaw Basin which will include covering, de-silting, dredging, contruction of new siltation ponds, and the removal of refuse from and complete reconstruction of priority drains and restoration of the Korle Lagoon, any additional works determined during the feasibility and design stage.
The second component is sanitation, which will make the existing Accra Central Wastewater Treatment Plant operational and implemented an overall solid waste collection programme.
Specifically, the project would include the construction of a new solid waste reclyable sorting facility to sort out 450 metric tonnes of waste a day in addition to helping the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to develop a comprehensive modern, innovative and cost effective solution for the overall waste management challenge.
Also 570 metres of new covered drains would be constructed at Mataheko, with 2.6 km at Mamponse ans 920m at South Kaneshie. Others include the revitalisation and dredging of 500,000 cubic metres of the Korle Lagoon as well as the construction of 20 hectares of permanent sedimentation basins upstream along the Odaw Channel from the Aburi Hills.
The project, which is being executed by an American construction firm, Conti Ghana, with support from Zoomlion and WaterTech, is being funded under a credit facility from the Export Import (Exim) Bank of the USA and the Standard Chartered Bank.
Speaking at the function, President Mahama said, the project would revolutionarise the sanitation and sewage situation in Accra and end the perennial flooding of the city.
He said if the project was successful, it would be replicated in the other regions.
President Maham urged the public to desist from dumping refuse into open drains and building on waterways, since those practices resulted in flooding in the cities.
He stressed the need for people to be advocates for good sanitation practices, by impressing on their neighbours to dispose of their refuse at designated collection points.
The Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye, pledged that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) would enforce its bye-laws to ensure that the project achieved its objective.
The problem is further compounded by the increasing population of the city. The population of Accra is approximately 2.3 million inhabitants, and has been growing at a high annual rate of four per cent since 1984. This rapid population growth of the city has hindered the increasingly difficult task of waste management in the city.
In that regard, the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Ms Patricia Alsup, said the US was proud to have played a role in dealing with the perennial flooding and waste management problems confronting the city.
The city of Accra, which is sited on a low-lying ground, experiences flooding annually mainly because of the haphazard construction of houses, especially on water courses, poor drainage and waste management system that leads to residents choking the drains with garbage.
Efforts by the city authorities to check the situation continues to be undermined by recalcitrant residents and a weak enforcement of bye-laws.
In 2009 and 2011, the floods that swept through the capital resulted in several deaths and the destruction of property running into millions of Ghana cedis.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Conti Group, Mr Kurt Conti, pledged the company’s commitment to ensuring that the project was completed on schedule.
The Korle Lagoon Restoration Project, which started some years back has hit a snag as it has been plaqued with uncontrolled waste dumping in a city that generates 2,500 metric tonnes of waste but struggles to cope with its management.