Three Joint Committees of Parliament have called for a national debate on sustainable management including funding of waste management in the country.
This the committees felt has become necessary in view of the fact that district assemblies, despite efforts to improve and manage waste by allowing private participation, there was still incidence of indiscriminate dumping of waste by both residents and drivers of private contractors who dump refuse at the landfill sites.
The Joint Committee made up of members of Works and Housing, Local Government and Rural Development, and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation were occasioned by the inferno that engulfed the Team Metropolitan Engineered Landfill site at Kpone on August 15, this year.
Pursuant to Article 103(3) of the Constitution and Standing Orders of Parliament which among other things enjoined Committees of Parliament to conduct investigations and inquiries into matters of public concern and make recommendations, the committee visited the landfill sites in the major cities, namely Kumasi, Kpone, Tamale and Takoradi to ascertain their working conditions.
According to the report signed by Chairmen of their various committees, namely, Nana Amoako (Works),Kennedy Agyapong (Local Government) and Yaw Addo (Environment) bemoaned the fact that landfill sites across the country were in precarious states such that if urgent measures were not taken what happened at Kpone might replicate in the other regions.
Introducing the report on the floor of Parliament yesterday, Nana Amoako said the committee observed that as result of increasing population in the major cities, the rate of waste generation has been increasing rapidly which according to the Environmental Protection Agency was likely to double in the future.
He said the committee noted that the assemblies were currently unable to cope with the situation since they were able to collect about 55 per cent of the waste generated.
“The committee holds the view that if the central government doesn’t come to the aid of the assemblies, the already poor collection of waste may deteriorate further,” he said.
Nana Amoako said in Kumasi the committee observed that the indiscriminate disposal of untreated liquid waste into the main gutter near the oxidation pond has resulted in direct drainage into the Oti River whiles in Tamale, liquid waste was discharged on farmlands and upon open spaces and pits adding that similar situation was observed in Sekondi-Takoradi.
He said industry players made them aware that the cost for effective and efficient management of waste was generally high and required heavy injection of capital adding that it came to their attention that the current charges for waste management services in the country was comparatively lower than the average global rate.
He said despite that the Assemblies were heavily indebted to the private firms in the face of inadequate government budgetary support whiles there has been delays in finalising management contracts and off-take agreements.
At the end of the many contributions from members, the first deputy Speaker invited the sector Ministers from Sanitation and Water Resources Water and the Local Government to meet with the Committee before December 10 to outline their solutions to the challenges.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI