Three environmental and waste management experts have called for a collective effort by city authorities, waste management companies and the citizenry to help keep Accra clean.
According to them, when all the separate components play their roles effectively, it will make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
The experts are the Chief Resilience and Sustainability Advisor to the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Accra, Mr Desmond Appiah; a researcher and a consultant with the Africa Sanitation and Environmental Consult (AFESC), Dr Yahaya Yakubu; and an environmental and public health consultant, Dr Kofi Sekyere Boateng.
They made the call in separate interviews after a five-day visit by a Ghanaian delegation from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the AFESC, the research and consultancy arm of waste management giants, Zoomlion, to understudy the waste management system of the city of Kigali.
Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, is touted as the cleanest city in Africa with its greening initiatives.
The delegation was in the city to learn at first hand some of the best sanitation and environmental practices adopted by Kigali's city authorities and citizens, a state that has earned them that status.
Attaining the vision
Mr Appiah told the Daily Graphic that AMA had initiated a number of projects towards achieving the government’s vision of making Accra and Ghana the cleanest city and country in Africa.
He, however, noted that from the Rwandan experience, a lot more education, sensitisation and awareness needed to be created to get the citizenry on board to appreciate the process.
Another key finding, he said, was that the Rwandans paid attention to running pilot programmes, learning from them before scaling up.
"Where I think we have fallen short is the transition to scaling up. We usually run the pilot, we take the learning but we get stuck because of challenges such as financing, sensitisation, education and all that," he stated.
"We have also recognised that it is not a nine-day journey. This is a journey that demands commitment from all of us in the longer term. All of us means citizenry. Everything we have seen here has shown that there is citizen ownership, there is city authority ownership, there is the sub-metro level ownership, there is what they call the cell level ownership. And they all see themselves as part of the one goal," he added.
Mr Appiah, who is also the city advisor for C40 climate leadership group for Accra, stated further that the inability "for each person to play his or her role effectively affects all of us".
Mr Appiah said he had also observed that there was a clear, well regulated monitoring structure in Rwanda and that there was a lot that Ghana could learn from that structure, saying Rwanda’s system of national government to local government to the cell was no different from what Ghana had.
"If you look at their greening structure, you will realise that it is some of the waste that they transform into fertiliser for the greening and agriculture purposes. So the waste companies know that they are not losing out by pushing that agenda," he added.
Dr Yakubu, for his part, said it was the citizens of Rwanda and for that matter the city of Kigali who owned the sanitation and greening processes, and, therefore, called for sustained educational and sensitisation campaigns to get all Ghanaians on board to get Accra and Ghana clean.
He said in Rwanda, the penalties for flouting the sanitation laws were heavy, and, therefore, no one wanted to fall foul of the laws.
Dr Sekyere Boateng commended the city authorities of Kigali for ensuring a clean city and disciplined society.
"If you look at the environment and sanitation space, you will see that they have done what we call inclusiveness, whereby they bring the decision making from top to bottom and from bottom to up," he stated.
"Having said that, I think Ghana is not doing badly in terms of infrastructure, policies, logistics and even capacity, and when it comes to people who understand sanitation and waste management, we have them. But what I think we are inadequate in comparatively is that we are unable to carry our people along, we are unable to enforce our laws, we are unable to implement most of the plans and strategies we have laid down," he observed.
He called for a holistic master plan that would look at the policies in place, the strategies, the laws and how to enforce them.
Dr Boateng suggested that the private sector should lead in the waste management process.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|