MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) have mooted education and sensitisation to waste segregation as the best way to ensure effective waste management and a clean environment in the country.
The MPs, who are members of four parliamentary select committees on Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD); Sanitation, Works and Housing; Environment; and Finance, have, therefore, urged the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), to help sensitise Ghanaians to the need to segregate waste at source, to enhance waste management.
The members of the legislature made the call during a tour of the construction site of the Damongo Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant (IRECoP) in the West Gonja District of the Savannah Region recently, as part of a nationwide exercise to acquaint themselves with the sanitation facilities in the country.
The visit by the 42-member joint committee was also to afford them the opportunity to ascertain the level of work at the waste treatment facility being constructed by Zoomlion Ghana Limited in partnership with the government and present a report to the government through Parliament.
Calling for the involvement of the NCCE in the waste segregation sensitisation drive was a member of the LGRD Committee and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Tano North, Ms Freda Akosua Prempeh, who expressed the view that the NCCE should include the education of Ghanaians on waste segregation and other sanitation issues in their work.
She said despite the funding challenges of the NCCE it had “a role to play in the sanitation space by educating all of us on waste segregation and the need to always keep our environs clean”.
“NCCE has to add sanitation to their education. They have a role to play, and they have a mandate to educate the people,” Ms Prempeh stressed.
Ms Prempeh, who is also the Minister of State for Works and Housing, further called for “waste segregation in our homes, schools, offices and our environs,” adding that such step would also make the work of the IRECoPs that were being constructed in the 16 regions easy, and that it was the only way sanitation and waste in general could be better managed in the country.
She opined that if the waste segregation campaign was well implemented, it would help prevent choked gutters and drains.
Describing the Damongo IRECoP as a “very important project,” she stated, “As a new and developing region, the Regional Coordinating Council, local assemblies and Zoomlion must do more in the area of waste segregation.”
Supporting the call for sensitisation to waste segregation, the Deputy Ranking Member for the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing, Mr Andrew Dari Chiwetey, also called for sensitising the people to waste segregation in homes in order to enhance sorting at the plant.
“There should be awareness creation with waste segregation in our homes and we need to also push the company to supply more bins to help in the segregation from the homes,” he said.
Research on waste segregation
Meanwhile, a research report published on the “Awareness on waste segregation at source and willingness to pay for collection service in selected markets in Ga West Municipality, Accra” has revealed the lack of bye-laws on waste segregation which has made it a tall order for traders.
The researchers, Lois Eyram Agbefe, Elaine Tweneboah Lawson and Dzidzo Yirenya-Tawiah, in their report published on March 13, 2019, said, “Proper solid waste management has become a critical environmental issue for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Ghana. Despite the efforts of authorities to remediate the issue, it remains a great hurdle to overcome.”
The study, which assessed the readiness of the Ga West municipality to integrate waste segregation into solid waste management in its markets and had traders as its respondents, found that the municipality not only had no bye-laws for waste segregation, but was also inadequately resourced.
“In addition, we found that 60 per cent of the traders were willing to segregate waste, though only 23.4 per cent were willing to pay for its collection.
“Income, work experience, and marital status were found to influence willingness to separate waste at source. Age (20–30 years) and awareness were found to also have a significant influence on a trader’s willingness to pay for the collection of waste,” the report stated.
The researchers, therefore, recommended that for waste segregation to be implemented in markets, municipal authorities ought to formulate bye-laws that promote waste segregation from source.
“Additionally, they must provide the required infrastructure, such as different waste skips for different types of waste; embark on massive education; and introduce innovative strategies such as paying less for the disposal of segregated waste.”
Benefits of Damongo plant
The Contract Consultant, Mr Felix Astrim, said the project when completed would have a generation capacity of 160 tonnes.
He added that the sub-structure of the project was 55 per cent complete and that the entire project which was expected to offer employment to 100 people would be completed by August this year.
For his part, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Sawla-Tuna Kalba, Mr Chiwetey, lauded Zoomlion for the construction of the recycling and compost plant, saying that it would benefit Central Gonja, Daboya and Sawla.
“With what we have seen so far which benefits Central Gonja, Daboya and Sawla, it tells you that the whole region is going to be covered,” he said.
He, therefore, called for the project to be supported so that it benefits the people of the area, as well as ensure cleanliness and good waste management in the region.
Mr Chiwetey also indicated that one of the components of the project, which is medical waste management, would help the West Gonja District Hospital and others in the three districts to properly manage their waste.
In spite of the positive impact of the IRECoP project, some shea farmers have had to make sacrifices to enable the project to take off.
In view of that, while agreeing with Mr Chiwetey on the waste segregation campaign, another member on the LGRD Committee, and NDC MP for Garu Tempane, Mr Albert Akuka Alazuga, urged Zoomlion and the other stakeholders in the project to ensure that adequate compensations were given to the women whose shea nut farms had been destroyed for the facility.
“They should get to the chiefs and the farmers and make sure the lands are properly acquired to ensure that the farmers benefit from the project.
“I want to urge Zoomlion and the local assemblies to ensure that in the acquisition of lands for the project, our women folk whose economic livelihoods depend on shea nut trees are well compensated,” he stated, cautioning that if that was not done well, there could be issues in the future.
For her part, a member on the LGRD Committee and NDC MP for Efutu Senya West, Mrs Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui, expressed concern about the cutting of trees to make way for the project, appealing to Zoomlion to plant more trees to make up for the loss.
“Plant fast-growing plants here to quickly fill the ecological gap in the area,” she said.