The war against Ghana’s waste has been one of empty words
A heaping pile of decomposing and rancid rubbish sits at the entrance of Kaneshie Market, a 30-year-old, three-story structure that houses hundreds of stores. Vendors located in front of the trash sell fruits, vegetables and other foods, and it has left some to wonder if the products are safe for consumption.
Joy FM’s Daniel Dadzie visited the market to see the conditions there. From what he witnessed, the site was in a “deplorable state.”
“Why do people dump their refuse here?” he asked a security guard who works at the market.
“No one seems to care,” the guard replied. “The smell alone paa. Something needs to be done about this.”
A revealing United Nations Development Programme report unveiled that Ghana could generate GH¢83 billion from waste annually. Additionally, numbers estimate that the country generates 30,000 tonnes of solid waste each year, but more than half (86%) of it could be recycled.
In Singapore, government officials have built a groundbreaking system that ensures the country’s waste doesn’t go to waste. “Waste-to-Energy Incineration plants” take its rubbish and steams it in boilers, which drives turbogenerators to produce electricity.
Using the system, the country was able to complete an entire housing development equipped with electricity for the poor.
“[In Ghana], a lot of the emphasis is on sanitation, but we need to focus on waste management,” says Maame Darkoa Awinador, a Joy FM analyst. “We need to get in the mindset that waste can be used to generate wealth.”
According to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), it functions to ensure effective environmental management and governance to guarantee the establishment of the regulatory framework for sustainable development.
And over at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, officials are consulting with “investors to convert our waste into various value-added products such as energy, compost fertilizer and recycled plastics and paper.”
Joy FM reached out to the Ministry of Sanitation for more information regarding their meeting with investors, but the Ministry declined a request to interview.
In 2011, JoyNews’ Manasseh Azure wrote an award-winning report uncovering poor sanitation and waste management at the University of Ghana’s Bush Canteen. Since his report, the University has renovated the market, but throughout the country, little has been done, he said.
“Unless we take action now,” Azure told Dadzie on the Super Morning Show Tuesday, “the goal to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa is a joke.”