The unveiling of 126 waste management and disinfection trucks, part of an expected 500 is of course good tidings for residents of garbage littered Accra and other urban centres.
It is taking place at a time when managing garbage and generally keeping our environment spick and span remains a challenge to the authorities.
The Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council under the leadership of Henry Quartey is currently tackling the 'Making Accra Work' project. It is about our relationship with the environment which under the circumstances leaves much to be desired. Without such important impetuses such as vehicles and others the ongoing exercise will suffer worrying yet avoidable drawbacks.
Our elation about the unveiling of the trucks and the promise of more to come is however limited. It is a fact that management of wastes in especially Accra cannot be complete with the acquisition of such trucks only. Without sites to dump the garbage or functioning facilities for recycling the tons of generated garbage will not find a final destination or dumping ground.
Over the years the subject of such dumping grounds has been an issue.
We must give the subject of recycling or absence of sustainable garbage dumping ground as much attention as we have the trucks.
We have been spared the perennial scourge of cholera in the past few years because of a general improvement in waste management. That is not to state that the challenge has been totally addressed. We are only enjoying a respite.
The recycling issue must be revisited again. We generate so much garbage in Accra and Kumasi that it would be unacceptable that we are not exploiting the advantages of the waste recycling module.
We must begin to educate ourselves about separating recyclable stuff from the contrary. We must not give up because as many would state 'most of us would not adhere to it.' Enforcement will eventually get us there.
The MMDAs should be involved in the management of wastes in our environment. After all they are responsible for enforcing the sanitation bylaws in their areas of jurisdiction.
There must be a holistic approach to waste management. The provision of trucks to recycling and available dumping sites to enforcement all add to an efficient waste management regimen in any given society.
Even as we rejoice the arrival of the trucks we must be quick to remind ourselves about the importance of keeping them in the best of shapes through regular maintenance.
Drivers who would be put in charge of the trucks must be educated about handling them as though they are their possessions.
Where are the street sweeping trucks which were showcased in the country? We hardly see them these days perhaps because the absence of a maintenance culture has swept them off the scene.