The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is set to outdoor a new environmental and sanitation policy to deal with the management of sanitation in a more structured and holistic manner.
The new policy which is a review of the 2010 Environmental Sanitation Policy does not only spell out mechanisms for sanitation management in the country but introduces modernisation in the whole environmental sanitation sector.
Taking her turn at the “Meet the Press” series in Accra yesterday, the Sector Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah said the review of the old policy was in line with the changing trends in the management of environmental sanitation services in the world.
According to her, the President’s vision of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa was on course and the new policy would not only assist with the management of sanitation related issues in the country, but would also empower Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to deal with sanitation offences across their areas.
“Additionally, in our efforts to ensure strict adherence to the various national and local environmental sanitation laws and regulations in Ghana, the ministry has initiated the process of putting together a comprehensive and consolidated national sanitation laws,” she emphasised.
The minister explained that the consolidated sanitation laws would serve as the primary reference document for the preparation of local bye-laws as well as enhancing successful prosecution of sanitation offenders.
She noted that as part of the measures to overhaul the waste management infrastructure regime in the country, extensive engagement with prospective local and foreign investors were far advanced to transform the existing poorly-managed land fill facilities.
“The new direction of the ministry is to pursue the development of more sustainable waste treatment options such as waste-to-energy, composting and recycling starting from Kpone and Kumasi,” she added.
Ms Dapaah said in line with the above, the ministry was leveraging the sanitation component of the Sinohydro facility to construct sanitation infrastructure across the country.
The infrastructure according to her would include an incineration plant with the capacity to deal with 1,800metric tonnes of waste per day in Accra West, a three number 200metric tonnes per day transfer stations for Accra East, two number 200 metric tonnes per day transfer station in Kumasi and a two number 100 metric tonnes per day transfer stations for Sekondi-Takoradi.
She said the ministry was creating land banks at strategic locations to be utilised as equity to support the private sector in the development of waste management infrastructure.
“In response to the overwhelming sanitation challenges, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan facility to the government of Ghana to finance the implementation of the Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihoods Improvement Project (GASSLIP),” she emphasised.
The Minister noted that even though all these measures were being put in place, the most important factor in winning the sanitation war was the change in attitude and behaviour.
“Our attitude and behaviour are very important contributing factors in ensuring that our cities and major towns are kept clean at all times,” she emphasized.
Touching on water provision in the country, she said the Water Resources Commission had put in place strategies and programmes that were critical to ensuring the regulation and sustainable development and management of the country’s fresh water resources.
She noted that the country’s total natural endowment of renewable freshwater resources was currently estimated at 53.4billion cubic metres per year of which only 14 per cent was currently being abstracted for various uses.
“It is worth-mentioning that the quality of our water resources are deteriorating due to natural and human factors, such that of the 16 major river basins, 65 per cent had water quality indexes of less than 50 per cent and therefore were of poor quality with 15 per cent of these being critical at the end of 2016,” she added.
Ms Dapaah noted that government was committed to implementing short term measures to mitigate the impacts of floods on lives, farmlands and properties within the White Volta Basin due to heavy rainfall.
By Cliff Ekuful