Regional News of Thursday, 12 June 2014
The indiscriminate disposal of waste by most Ghanaians is a source of worry to most metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) since they have to spend huge sums to clear the filth.
The Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) is no exception. The assembly is currently struggling to get rid of thousands of tonnes of filth in the metropolis, a place once voted as the cleanest in the country.
It is an eyesore to observe people who reside in the central business district (CBD) disposing of their waste at undesignated places in their bid to avoid paying fees charged by waste management companies. Right from the traffic lights at the State Transport Company through the Collins Avenue to the round market pavilion, residents use the container meant for traders as ‘refuse dumps’.
According to the managers of the Takoradi office of Zoomlion, a waste management company, residents refused to take the litter bins supplied by the company so there was nothing the company could do about the situation.
Residents, including children and house helps, under the cover of darkness, carry the waste from their homes and dump it in the containers.
As a result, by 6.30 a.m. each day, the containers are full, a situation that compels market women and other traders within the city to dump their waste on the ground around the containers.
This situation has contributed to the overflow of refuse in the city, which gets into the gutters and choke them. A typical example is found around the market pavilion and the streets leading to the CBD.
Some good examples
Residents in the more populated areas such as Effiakuma make use of communal containers and the services of Venmark, the waste management company assigned to operate in the area, and so the situation is under control there.
At Kweikuma, Sekondi, Adiembra and Essikado, the right thing is being done.
Refuse is properly disposed of into refuse containers and the waste contractors assigned to these areas pick the containers up according to schedule.
Residents at Anaji, Apollo, Kwesimintsim, Beach Road, and the Airport Ridge areas also make use of the household waste bins provided them. In addition, other bins placed in those areas are constantly emptied by the contractors in charge of the specified areas.
The news team visited some villages in the region to find out how the communities were managing their waste. It was found that the villages were clean, a far cry from what was happening in the metropolis. In the villages the people still have a high regard for “Papa Tankase” (the community health inspector) and so do not want to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Interestingly, however, it is migrants to the cities from these villages who have abandoned their values and are abusing the environment.
The major problem the STMA faces currently is the apathy that residents continue to exhibit towards owning household bins. Many of them do not accept the bins provided by Zoomlion. Unfortunately, residents who have refused to comply with the STMA directive for every household to have a bin have not offered any alternative solution to the disposal of waste in their localities either. Some recalcitrant residents have even turned the streets into a dumping ground for refuse and human excreta; and they do this under the cover of darkness. This is because the assembly has not been able to enforce the law banning the use of pan latrine in the metropolis. Those whose latrine pans are full therefore pour the excreta into black plastic bags and throw them into the open drains. This ignoble attitude is worrisome. At the moment, the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis faces an imminent epidemic, especially with the onset of the rains and the accompanying floods which could carry the waste into people’s homes. The bigger challenge The STMA has several laws that regulate the behaviour of residents in the city. The managers of the city, however, do not have the courage to enforce these laws which will not only serve as a deterrent but also rake in revenue for it. In the central market, traders still urinate into empty tins and pour the contents into drains in front of their trading posts or any available space. ‘Noble’ men and woman litter the streets, squat or stand and urinate in the open without any shame. The assembly will have a clean environment if it makes those generating the waste pay for its disposal and then dump their refuse at designated places. The assembly must also be prepared to punish those who flout its byelaws.