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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Columnist: Arthur, Gifty

Health Hazard At Accra Mall

By Gifty Arthur

A strong stench emanating from a drain behind the Accra Mall has spark
debate among commuters of the Motorway and others who live or work near the
facility like the Mall with its international status will have such a poor
sewage treatment.

The Mall, located at Tetteh Quarshie Round About in Accra, arguably, the
biggest one-stop-shop in the West African sub-region has for some time now
been causing a big public nuisance as it has failed to treat its sewage
properly to meet the required standards.

One therefore cannot help but wonder why in these day and age of technology;
management will fail to find better way of improving the sanitation of
otherwise heavy on earth of a place.

After series of complaints from the public, The Herald on Tuesday took the
trouble to visit the facility to learn at first hand the extent of the

First and foremost, it should be stated that although when this paper got to
the vicinity, the entire place looked well kept; this paper however learnt
that, the situation is simply unbearable anytime the sewage is opened in to
the gutter


The practice which according to residents is done almost every day is so
terrible that people around have no choice but cover their nostril to avoid
the pollution since the entire surrounding stinks so badly.

It has as a result made the entire surroundings very difficult to occupy and
hence made working and trading in the environs very difficult as some
traders have as a result vacated the place due to the stench.

Describing how serious the situation is, one trader name withheld revealed
that even passengers in moving vehicles always resort to covering their
nostril with handkerchiefs to avoid the smell.

“We are suffering here, this problem has gone on for years and we have to
bear it since we have nowhere to go” one of them said.

He wished that the road which is about to be reconstructed will commence
early enough so that the plant in which such material come from will be pull

Whilst some of the workers and hawkers readily described the situation as
nuisance others working a little far from the Mall testify how one time or
the other they had had to experienced the stench as they usually use the
road beside the gutter to their various destinations.

Asked what they believe is the exact material that is contained in the
sewage, the people who were mostly hawkers and company workers said they
think it is faeces that are collected from the Mall into a plant outside the
building and then later it is discharged into the gutter.

Though they could not tell exactly what makes the sewage so stinky, some
believed that it is the human waste generated from the Mall that is causing
the terrible smile.

They said earlier reports by the media have fallen on death ears as they
believe that management is just not interested in finding solution to their

One other gentle who wanted to remain unanimous jokingly said: “I have
nothing to say because I believe that it the stench that has made me grow
this fat”.

A Special Aid to Casa Trasacco, Kobby Davidson, recounted how over the years
workers of the company have had to struggle to live with the situation since
their building is next to the Mall.

He called on management of the Mall to find other ways to dispose off
whatever waste that is causing the havoc in order to spare them the trouble
of smelling this stench on daily bases.

“I wish they will do something about the problem, it is really causing a
nuisance in the entire area”, he pleaded.

He acknowledged that though he is most of the time in the office and so do
not suffer this difficulty, he said he felt it for his subordinates who
carry their daily duties outside of the main offices thus living them at the
mercy of the smelly environment.

He revealed that he has notified management of his outfit to prompt
management of the Mall about the situation and he is yet to receive any

But in a shape contrast to the complaints of the public, the Maintenance
Manager of the Mall, Mr. Everette Odonkor in an interview debunked the
allegation that his outfit intentionally disposes feaces into the drains.

Instead, he said that the Mall has its own plants where such materials are
disposed into but said it is rather water and oil used in preparing food at
the Mall that is given that bad odour.

Mr. Donkor said that even such waste is not disposed off directly into the
drains but it rather goes into several treatments before if finally find its
way into the drains.

He pleaded with the public to have patience with management as they are very
concerned about the situation saying next month a specialist they have
contracted will commence work on the sewage to bring relief to all and