Members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) were given a tour of some waste treatment facilities belonging to Zoomlion Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Jospong Group of Companies.
The Corps visited the Medical Waste Treatment Facility in Teshie-Nungua, the Lavender Hill Faecal Treatment Plant, the Mudor Sewage Treatment Plant and the Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant (IRECCOP) all in James Town and Adipa Waste Management Centre in Nsawam on Saturday, March 20, 2021.
The tour offered some insight to the members about the challenges confronting waste management in the country and the mounting cost of the sector following the proposed ten pesewas Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) and its description as a nuisance tax.
The Environmental Services Providers Association (ESPA) and Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) have, however, welcomed the tax as a lifesaver for the sector if indeed it is implemented and sustained.
According to the Sanitation Service Providers, the tax would provide a dedicated fund for waste management, which is currently non-existent and therefore the sector relies solely on government funding.
They pointed out that a dedicated fund for the sector will mean service providers would be paid on time and in full measure to enable them also take care of their operational cost on time.
At the medical waste treatment facility at Teshie Nungua, Zoompak, a partnership between Zoomlion and a Turkish waste company, the Manager, Durmus Findkci, explained the importance of the facility in view of the dangers associated with mismanagement of medical waste.
He indicated that the Teshie Nungua facility is the only one of its kind on the entire African continent hence the need for government to give it maximum support.
Mr. Findkci, appealed to the government to institute a control measure on medical waste management because of its sensitivity as improper collection and disposal can spark a major health disaster in the country.
“Zoompak is equipped to get rid of medical waste under hygienic conditions and safe for the environment and the people.
“Ministry of Health must control all the processes of the sector and also support the investors in terms of funding as the cost of operating the facility is currently being borne by the investors,” Mr Findkci stated.
The team visited Lavender Hill at James Town, which houses the Mudor Sewage Treatment Plant and the Lavender Hill Faecal Treatment Plant.
These facilities are used to treat liquid waste from Accra and its environs in a more hygienic manner contrary to what pertained in the past when the raw waste was dumped directly into the sea.
The Lavender Hill facility generates by-products such as biogas and solid products used for producing organic manure and charcoal while the water is treated for reuse or flushed into the Korle Lagoon.
The Press Corps then visited the Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant (IRECOP) about 200 meters away from Lavender Hill.
Operations Manager, Eric Amofa-Sarkodie, explained to the team that about 80% of the five million tons of waste received at the facility is recycled.
According to him, the plant receives about 400 tons of waste daily with 61% of it made up of organic waste.
“The waste is segregated and recycled for use. IRECOP is a zero-waste plant where waste is treated and recycled for use or converted into by-products for other productions like organic fertiliser, plastic pellets etc,” he stated.
The Corps then visited the Adipa Landfill Site, a 200-acre engineered site at Nsawam.
The Operations Manager of the site, Richard Omane Mensah, informed the team the site has been in operation for ten years.
According to him, there are plans to expand the site and transform it into a sanitation park with different types of waste management facilities.
The idea, he said, is to engineer the site as a destination for all waste from Accra in the next 50 years as waste facilities in the capital get decommissioned over time.
After the tour, Dean of the PPC, Simon Agianab made a passionate appeal to the Ghanaian public to embrace the proposed sanitation tax to ensure the government has a dedicated fund for waste management in the country.
According to him, without a specific fund for the sector, the efficiency of waste management would continue to diminish with very disastrous consequences.
Also the Managing Editor of the Accra Times newspaper, Simon Agianab pointed out that much as people detest the proposed levy, it will not be a ‘nuisance’ tax because of the role it will play in keeping the country clean.
“This tax will help sanitize our environment and make our communities very clean and also help to ensure that diseases like malaria, cholera and typhoid are eradicated from our society”, he reiterated.
Mr. Agianab cited introduction of the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) as an example and how it was described as a nuisance tax.
He questioned what Ghana’s economy would have been like today if the ESLA did not exist and stressed the need to support the sanitation levy.