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General News of Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Source: GNA

Accra Sewerage Improvement Project launched

Accra, Nov. 25, GNA - The Accra Sewerage Improvement Project (ASIP) to improve and expand sewerage and sanitation facilities in the city of Accra and its environs was on Tuesday launched in Accra. The project also seeks to replace the current on-site human waste treatment systems with an environmentally friendly off-site treatment. The government of Ghana and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) are funding the 77.55 million-dollar project, which would commence next year.

The AfDB is funding the five-year project with its interest-free loan of 68.95 million dollars with Accra Metropolitan Assembly as executing agency.

Under the project, two sewerage treatment plants would be provided at the Densu Delta and the University of Ghana, Legon Campus for the treatment of sewerage from the western and eastern parts of Accra respectively.

The third, which is to be constructed at Burma Camp for the treatment of sewerage from the central parts of Accra, is not included due to lack of funding.

Eight pumping stations would also be provided to boost the flows through the sewerage networks in the catchments areas. The project would also provide revolving funds for individual homes to be connected to the system and would be given a period of time to refund the money to enable others also to benefit from the facility. Stanley Nii Adjiri Blackson, Mayor of Accra, said sewerage and liquid waste management in the Accra had not been the best, adding that the project would improve on the existing situation by providing expansion of sewerage networks by an additional 95.9 km to bring to the total sewerage coverage up to about 50 per cent. Presently, Accra was only 15 per cent coverage of sewerage networks.

He said in spite of the tremendous strides made by engineers in the handling of human waste, Accra had not taken advantage of technological trends to improve liquid waste as well as solid waste management in the city to any appreciable level.

Nii Adjiri said since 2006, a total of 1,350 drop holes had been delivered in low to middle income communities out a target of 1,500 to benefit over 20,000 people.

He said it was estimated that over one million people living in Accra had no toilet at home and if the current situation continued, there would still be 2.4 million people without basic sanitation in 2015.

The Mayor said on completion of ASIP, access to sanitation facilities would increase from the current 40 per cent to 65 per cent in the urban and peri- urban areas of Accra by 2021. He, however, admitted that nothing could be achieved without discipline, adding that most of the environmental sanitation problems in Accra were due largely to lack of discipline on the part of the residents.

"Let us also note that no amount of investment in sanitation can produce the expected impact if the beneficiaries do not apply a sense of discipline in the use and management of the facilities," he added. Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, said the critical option for addressing sanitation problems was self-discipline. "No matter the resources deployed to tackle the problem, if we are not ready to live responsible and disciplined lives, I am sorry we will miss a lot of opportunities as a developing nation. "Our quest to become the gateway to Africa, for example, might become a mirage, since the filthy and unsightly environment will be enough to ward off potential tourists and the business community of the advanced nations," he said. He said sanitation problems were complex and the solutions would require the involvement of each and every one - starting from homes, communities, workplaces and schools.

Mr Adjei-Darko urged the public to be ready to pay for sanitation services to reduce the burden on government so that the meagre resources of the Assemblies could be used for other development activities to enhance the socio-economic well being of the people. Dr Aliu Jeng, AfDB Country Representative, said the bank worked with countries and not individual governments and gave the assurance that the project would be sustained even if there should be another government after the December 7 polls. 25 Nov. 08

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