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General News Thu, 6 May 2004

Sachet Water Producers decline to foot bill for removing plastic waste

Accra, May 6, GNA - The National Association of Sachet Water Producers (NASWAP) on Thursday declined to contribute 450 million cedis a month towards the clearing of plastic waste from the Accra Metropolitan Area.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) had requested NASWAP to contribute the amount, which represents 17 per cent of the Assembly's monthly budget for waste management, since the Association generated 85 per cent of the plastic waste in the City.

The AMA at a meeting with the Association asked for the amount to supplement its budgeted 2,351 billion cedis to clear the city of filth, particularly plastic waste, which has engulfed Accra.

The meeting, which was attended by a handful of the members of the Association led by its President, Ms Charlotte Anumel, was nearly marred after a protracted haggling that produced no definite solution. While the AMA Chief Executive, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson and his team insisted that NASWAP should at all cost assist the Assembly financially or in any other possible way in the exercise, the Association contended that they were not in a position to contribute the amount because they were financially handicapped.

Earlier in the deliberation, Mr Blankson announced that the AMA would need the budgeted amount to start with the filth clearing exercise by the middle of the month before the rains set in.

He explained that, AMA was to recruit 1,500 sanitary overseers, who would be paid 350,00 per month to start with the exercise, adding that, litterbins, outdoor advertisement, transportation, storage facilities would be provided at vantage points in the city and a mass educational campaign using drama would be undertaken.

He said though the AMA had already obtained permission from the law court to prosecute people, who littered around, it would hold on unto it, until it adequately educated the public on the need to refrain from littering around before "we start prosecuting them".

Mr Blankson said the sanitation situation, especially the residue of sachet water had become a major issue for both the authorities and the city dwellers and that the Assembly was resolved to "collect them, compress them and keep them for storage, for later recycling".

He, however, warned the water sachet producers that should they remain adamant he might be "tempted to ban the production of sachet water in the city, if that would help solve the situation".

In response, Ms Anumel said it was unfair for the Chief Executive to single them out to foot the bill and indicated that the manufacturers and importers of plastic bags were equally liable and should also be made to pay part of the bill.

Mr Kwame Agyepong Ntra, Public Relations Officer of the Association, however, said they would cooperate with the Assembly to ensure that the filth was cleared from the city for the people to live in a healthy environment.

He, therefore, asked that the Association be given another opportunity to meet with its stakeholders and see what assistance they could offer, saying; "members were able to contribute a little above 250 million cedis a month as dues, and " I cannot promise anything now". 06 May 04
Source: GNA