The Director of Waste Management at the AMA, Mr Anthony Mensah, in a interview with the Daily Graphic said the prosecution followed a new exercise to combat indiscriminate waste disposal through the arrest of offenders.
It is a sub-metro-based exercise, which started from the Okaikoi North where the 21 persons were arrested by a task force that has been specifically set up for the exercise.
According to Mr Mensah, Ablekuma North sub-metro has also formed a task force for the exercise.
Emphasising on the enforcement of the assembly’s bye-laws on sanitation, the waste management director said that was one surest way of bringing sanity into waste disposal in the metropolis.
It is a fact that the enforcement of assembly bye-laws, especially prosecuting sanitation offenders, is a good move, but the big question is how sustainable this exercise will be.
We have seen it before and it will not be a surprise if it fizzles out on the way.
The management of filth is one of the biggest challenges that the AMA is still contending with.
Accra, Mr Mensah said, generates 2,500 tonnes of garbage daily and about 94 per cent is evacuated to final disposal sites.
Daily, a good part of the city, including the Central Business District (CBD) is submerged in waste; rivers that flow through the city, particularly the Odaw River, still contain heavy amounts of solid waste.
This is a clear case of a city that is increasingly facing difficulty in managing the waste generated by residents.
Notwithstanding the figures, as given by the director, the task of freeing Accra of filth and making the national capital the cleanest city in Africa as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has promised, appears a difficult one.
Private sector participation
Over the years, the AMA has lacked the capacity to deal with the magnitude of waste generated in the metropolis. It was in that light that the city authorities involved the private sector in waste management.
Although the introduction of private sector participation in waste collection has brought some improvement in the system, it is still bogged in challenges.
“We have managed to improve the situation but there is still a lot of work to do,” Mr Mensah said.
The people are expected to pay the required fees to accredited waste collection agencies whose services they subscribe to in the sub-metros.
“But some of the people have failed to subscribe to the services and rather prefer to either deal with illegal waste collectors or just dump in unauthorised areas,” he said.
The irony of the situation, he said, was that the illegal waste collectors, popularly known as ‘Junkies,’ also drop the waste they collect with the tricycles in the streets.
However, the good thing is that the motorised tricycles that are registered are controlled.
Some of the private collectors also appear to not have demonstrated the delivery capacity, and perhaps the AMA needs to restructure the system by focusing on selection of operators with proven capabilities and sensitising the people to the community waste collection.
With President Nana Akufo-Addo’s pronouncement to ensure that Accra becomes the cleanest city in Africa before the end of his four-year mandate, Mr Mensah said people had become more environmentally aware, but he maintained that it would not be overnight. “We have a deficit which we need to remove,” he addedadded