By Kofi Thompson
Being a great believer in the art and science of turning a disaster into an opportunity, I would urge the Achimota residents affected by the siting of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly's (AMA) landfill site in their neighbourhood, to start thinking along those lines too.
Lateral thinking will give them a resolution of their problem - by providing them with for a long-term disease-free solution to what presently is, to all intents and purposes, a sitting health time-bomb.
For their information, as luck would have it, GIMPA and Lancaster University's Lancaster Environment Centre are holding an Executive Master Class on waste-to-energy between March 18th to 20th 2013.
My advice to the wealthiest and most educated amongst those residents of Achimota affected by the siting of the landfill waste disposal site, is: whatever they do they must attend that two-day master class.
They can turn their disaster into an opportunity for their neighbourhood association - to work towards owning a relatively small waste-to-energy plant for all the residents of Achimota to enjoy low-cost power.
Perhaps they can also contact the Royal Danish Embassy to try and learn from the experience of wealthy Danish exurbs such as Horsholm - which have waste-to-energy plants sited near them.
They will find that with the assurance of an off-take agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana, obtaining equity financing and low-cost debt from the EU for a modern waste-to-energy power plant to turn their neighbourhood association into an independent power producer, ought to be fairly straightforward.
I will be happy to introduce a Dutch businessman who can facilitate the financing for them.
Let them network with the CEO of the UK consulting firm, Envirofly, Dr. Akaanimo Odon, who consults for Lancaster University. They can contact GIMPA for his contact details.
As inspiration, I will quote his words (which no doubt will be very sweet music to their ears!) to them: "... consulting for organisations, government and individuals to manage their wastes appropriately. We have extensive expertise in delivering these. It might interest you to know that Lancaster Environment Centre is one of the most reputable environmental organisations in Europe with over 24 environmental companies resident within its facility. So we have all the expertise to drive any environmental initiative or programme.
There is a huge offering here. "
Let the residents of Achimota affected by the siting of the AMA landfill site find a way to get Zoomlion and J. Stanley Owusu & Co. to underwrite that Executive Master Class at GIMPA.
They ought to get the AMA and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to do same, too.
That will make it possible to get all the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Ghana to attend the two-day GIMPA Executive Master Class in Waste-To-Energy too.
That way, other areas in Ghana affected by the siting of landfill sites can finally find relief - and get the added bonus of enjoying low-cost electricity.
GIMPA too can benefit: by partnering Envirofly and Lancaster University to develop a course in waste management for students from Ghana and the rest of West Africa - and develop a new income-generating revenue-stream from consulting (for local governments and other clients in Ghana and West Africa!) on waste management and the building of waste-to-energy plants.
Finally (although I digress a little here) let those three important and influential politicians - the Hon. Alban Bagbin; the Hon. Enoch Teye Mensah; and the Hon. Cletus Avoka - appointed by President Mahama to ensure that key National Democratic Congress manifesto project promises are completed before the end of his tenure, take the same creative approach to their very important national assignment.
Some of us are happy and willing to help them for free - as our patriotic duty to Mother Ghana. A word to the wise...
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