Business News of 2014-06-06

‘We need attitudinal change to achieve MDG 7’

The Communications Manager of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Mr Robert Tetteh Coleman, has reiterated that unless Ghanaians change their attitude to environmental sanitation, the country could miss out on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 on sanitation by 2015.
That, he said, was because the country still faced challenges with developing the right attitude towards achieving the target. Mr Coleman said this in a statement to the Daily Graphic on Ghana’s efforts at meeting MDG 7 on sanitation on the occasion of World Environmental Day which fell yesterday.
Stressing attitudinal change as one of the major challenges hindering those efforts, Mr Coleman said some citizens had refused to do the right thing as part of their shared responsibility towards keeping the country clean at all times.
That development, he pointed out, had been on the ascendency, despite attitudinal change educational programmes that had been carried out to drum home the need to keep our environment clean.
Describing how worrisome the problem had been, he said some people had just refused to make environmental cleanliness a prime issue, despite their claims of being godly.
“Just take a ride through the principal streets of Accra and you will be amazed at the rate at which people litter indiscriminately. Some have turned every available space into dump sites and heaps of refuse in public places have become the order of the day,” he said.
He, however, said the public could not be wholly blamed for such menace because the state authorities had not provided the needed number of dump sites to match the more than 2,000 metric tonnes of waste generated in the Accra metropolis daily.
“We were all witnesses to the health havoc that was nearly caused when the Kpone landfill site serving the whole Accra and Tema was closed down due to its inability to contain the waste pressure from those cities,” he mentioned.
Mr Coleman said there was the need for the authorities in charge of sanitation in the country to ensure that there were adequate landfill sites, adding that they should, for their part, also fulfil contractual agreements with private companies they had engaged to help overcome the challenges.
He cited the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant which was set up by the Zoomlion Group to provide total solutions to waste management as an example, noting that the company had to close down its operations as a result of the inability of the government to make its financial commitment to the company.
Mr Coleman said the compost plant had been receiving over 600 tonnes of refuse daily and that had been a big relief regarding the limited landfill sites currently available in the country.
Touching on the ineffective way in which liquid waste was managed, he pointed out that some households still did not have places of convenience, “which means that people have to defecate in the open drains and this poses health concerns”. He said some investigations conducted had revealed that residents who had some kind of toilet facilities linked them to drainage systems to serve as passage for faecal matter.
“This cannot be acceptable and the relevant authorities should crack the whip on any household they find engaging in that practice,” he said. On the way forward, Mr Coleman said Zoomlion was putting up waste transfer stations at various points in the country to ensure that waste collected from various households was conveyed to these stations to significantly increase the number of trips a truck could collect waste in a day before disposing of it at the final dump site.
He said the government could also, as a matter of urgency, commit all its financial obligations to the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant to ensure that the plant was once again viable to provide a total waste management solution.
He said Zoomlion would soon roll out the distribution of about a million waste bins to households to significantly increase the number of people who had waste bins for effective waste management.