Regional News of 2014-08-23

Court orders AMA to stop dumping at Lavender Hill

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has been ordered to refrain from dumping untreated liquid sewerage at the Korle Gonno Beach, popularly called the Lavender Hill.

The Accra High Court which gave the order also asked the assembly to comply with the enforcement notice issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build digesters to treat the waste to protect the environment.

It further ordered the assembly to make copies of its decommissioning plan available to the EPA with 14 days.

This followed an application for an order for mandamus filed by the EPA, asking the court to stop the assembly and its Chief Executive from polluting the Korle Gonno beach.

These were made known by the External Solicitor of the EPA, Mrs Naana Quartey, at a press briefing at Amasaman, near Accra yesterday.

Mrs Quartey said AMA had been dumping raw sewerage into the sea over the years because it claimed that its treatment plant had broken down.

She said for a long time, the EPA had been having talks with the AMA over the decommissioning of the land at Korle Gonno and to stop the dumping of the human waste at the beach.

“AMA promised a number of times to cease dumping the waste, but it appears they did little about it, so EPA was forced to take a court action against AMA in December 11, 2013,” she stated.

She said on February 12, 2014, the court granted the application of the EPA, which was to force the AMA to comply with the enforcement order that the EPA had issued against it as far back as August last year.

Mrs Quartey said the AMA, however, applied to the court to grant it sometime, since it had started constructing a new treatment plant behind the Ghana Fire Service Training School.

“The AMA even brought evidence of more digesters it was building to take care of the decommissioning of the Korle Gonno dumpsite,” she added.

She said the court in July 2014 granted AMA’s request but also ordered it to submit a decommissioning plan to the EPA for it to ascertain whether or not the plan was viable, but the assembly was yet to do that.

For her part, the Legal Officer of the EPA, Mrs Abena Ayensu Worshie, said despite the numerous engagements her outfit had with the AMA, it refused to co-operate; an act which, she said, compelled the EPA to take the legal action against it.

“First, the AMA did not go to the court for the variation of time but rather went to the Greater Accra Regional Minister, who called the EPA for a meeting.

“Again, rather than submitting its decommissioning plan to the EPA as ordered by the court, AMA gave us its schedule of work.

“As of today, AMA has failed to comply with the 14-day order given to it by the court to make its decommissioning plan available to the EPA,” Mrs Worshie added.

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