‘Our refuse dump is higher than the Krobo Mountains’ – Residents of Okornya

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Wed, 4 Aug 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Correspondence from Eastern Region:

Residents of Okornya, a suburb of Somanya in the Eastern Region have pleaded with government to help clear the decades-old mountain-like refuse dump in the area.

A visit by GhanaWeb to the refuse site saw children openly defecating on the refuse dump, a situation the residents say is worrying.

Some domestic animals had also turned the place into a feeding ground.

Solid and liquid waste management has become increasingly prominent, especially in the urban areas, which mostly cause diseases like cholera.

The horrible stench from the refuse dump can be smelled several meters away, but residents are still seen dumping refuse on the site as they had no option.

Interestingly, there is a school football park with drinking spots, food joints, a basic school and several adjoining houses close to the dump.

Residents who live close to the scene have no option but bear the brunt of the pinching stench, breeding mosquitoes and filth of the refuse dump over the years and decades.

One of them, Kwao Emmanuel said their worst moments are during the rainy seasons and when the wind blows where rainwater and wind carry the filth into their homes, coupled with the stench of the water.

“That refuse dump is giving us so much problem here. When the wind blows, it carries the garbage into our homes. The situation is also bad when it rains, the stinking rainwater from the refuse dump end up all over the place, it’s not a pleasant sight and this is worrying us.

Another, Kwao Ernestina said, “This is my house and the refuse dump is right behind us so when the wind blows, the garbage ends up in my house. It really stinks when it rains.”

The residents sarcastically suggested that the refuse dump, reminiscent of the Krobo Mountains, the ancestral home of the Krobos where indigenes visit to socialize during the annual Ngmayemi festival, serve as an alternative for the Krobo Mountains during the festival.

“We have the Krobo Mountains but this refuse dump is higher than the Krobo Mountains so if I were the chief of this area, I’d propose that we use this as the Krobo Mountains during our festival,” Gamah Michael, a resident suggested sarcastically.

He said though the current Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Ebenezer Tetteh Kupualor put in efforts to evacuate the refuse dump, not much came out of his efforts.

The situation, the residents say, affects eateries and drinking spots in the vicinity as patrons stay away as a result of the situation.

They also say, children, are particularly at risk as they occasionally develop rashes on their bodies with health authorities reportedly attributing their condition to the unsanitary conditions they live in.

“Our children are developing rashes all over their bodies and when we visit the hospital, we’re told it is because we live close to the refuse dump,” Victoria Aakor Appiah, a resident told GhanaWeb.

“I have lived here for the past forty-two years, born and bred here and I grew up with this refuse here. They bring the refuse vehicle to evacuate it, it comes once and you don’t see it again so this is bothering us", she added.

GhanaWeb at the time of its visit met several residents, especially women and children from far and near converging at the site to dump their rubbish.

Some of them, aside the unsightly spectacle where they dump their refuse, also complained about the long distances they had to endure to the site just to dispose of their rubbish.

GhanaWeb met Elizabeth Sappor who had walked a long distance to the rubbish dump. She complained bitterly about how long it took her on a daily basis to do this.

She complained: “Bringing the rubbish all the way here is tiresome because I’m coming from far and I have to cross the main road and encounter those huge tipper trucks. The rubbish is also very heavy so I want a refuse container close to me in which to dump my refuse.”

Assemblyman for the Gberkomanya Electoral Area, Honourable Borti Andrews Owusu in an interview expressed regret at the situation. He said he has personally climbed the refuse dump several times to burn the refuse which in the end affected his health.

“For the past so many years, morning, afternoon-evening, when it is raining, I’m on it doing the job…as I speak to you I have asthma because of this refuse dump,” the worried Assemblyman told GhanaWeb, pleading with the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly to intervene.

According to him, several appeals to the Assembly to deal with the situation have proven futile.

“Now I need assistance from the Assembly to come and evacuate this refuse. I made several appeals, they came once and we don’t know what is happening again.”

He said though he organizes periodic communal labour to deal with the problem, the lack of adequate tools to execute the task remains a challenge.

Headmaster of the St. Peter’s Catholic School, Samuel Odjidja also complained about the refuse dump apparently spreading onto the football field and the stench endured by pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff during class hours and called on the Assembly to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, MCE for Yilo Krobo, Ebenezer Tetteh Kupualor responding to the concerns of the residents said though a site has been acquired to evacuate the refuse dump to, access to the place is a challenge for trucks that will convey the rubbish since the route has become inaccessible due to ongoing construction activities on the Tema-Mpakadan Railway line.

The residents unanimously called for the evacuation of the refuse to save them from ill-health.

“This site must be evacuated and a refuse container brought instead and this would be better than the refuse dump over here which is worrying us,” they appealed. “We have complained severally and this is really worrying us so they must come and assist us by removing the rubbish dump from here, else it will kill us.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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