Filth engulfs major highways in Accra

• Refuse left uncollected at the pavement of Nkrumah Circle

• Refuse left uncollected at the pavement of Nkrumah Circle

Piles of refuse have mounted on major highways within the national capital, Accra, days after the New Year festivities.

The heaps of garbage, the Ghanaian Times observed, were cited at some markets and traffic intersections including Mallam junction, Odorkor, Darkuman, Kaneshie-First Light, Pamprom and the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, addressing chiefs and people of Jamestown in April last year, pledged his commitment to make Accra the cleanest cities in Africa by the end of his tenure.

His pledge was corroborated by some government appointees including the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashittey and the Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who vowed to make the President’s vision a reality.

However, a tour by the Ghanaian Times along some major roads and areas in Accra yesterday revealed that little had been done to rid the city of filth.

On the Mallam-Kaneshie stretch, for instance, huge debris could be spotted at almost every traffic light and the shoulders of the highway, attracting flies and emanating unbearable stench.

A burst pipe at the Darkuman junction, the paper observed had rubbish floating on it running unto the main road, making it difficult for drivers to drop and pick passengers at the bus stop.

At the main Kaneshie footbridge, the heaps of refuse competed with pedestrians, vehicles and traders for space, whilst at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, refuse containers had virtually overflown its banks.

“We don’t know why people keep dumping refuse here, and we do not know where they come from,” a phone accessory seller at Kaneshie told this reporter.

According to him, traders had on their own set up a taskforce to apprehend culprits but the situation persists.

“The taskforce sit here till 12 midnight to make sure no one dumps here but by the time they close and return in the following morning, people would have come to leave their rubbish here.”

He said, traders were compelled to bear with the situation with its accompanying consequences because they had to “make ends meet to feed our families”.

Another trader called Stella, who sells African star apple,  commonly known as ‘alansa” said,  “The refuse began piling since last week but none of the waste collectors has been here to pick it up.”

Explaining how the rubbish got to the road, Stella alleged, “It is these tricycle operators who dumb them here.  They take monies from individuals to carry the refuse to dump sites only for them to leave it here at night.”

“When people see these refuse here, they also collect theirs into polythene bags from their homes and dump it, so it keeps piling,” she added.

She suggested that the patrol units of the police service looked out for such miscreants as part of their routine so as to keep the city clean.

A hawker at the Odorkor traffic light told a similar story blaming the situation on human behaviour.

“I wonder how it feels to carry rubbish from your homes or wherever and dump it on a highway such as this. Its sheer wickedness,” she lamented.

Speaking in a telephone interview with the paper, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Gilbert Ankrah said: “It is because of such incidents that the Assembly is embarking on a decongestion exercise to rid the city of these hawkers and traders who litter the streets.”

 

He said the AMA was considering setting up more transfer points to prevent refuse collectors from dumping at unapproved points.

 

“In the meantime, the Assembly has activated a whatsapp line (02022464444) where the public can take snapshots of such mess and its location for our rapid response team to quickly collect them till we find a more holistic module to solve Accra’s sanitation problem,” he said.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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