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16.06.2004 General News

Committee on Kwabenya Landfill inaugurated

By GNA

Accra, June 16, GNA - Preparations are underway to start the second phase of the Kwabenya landfill project which, according to experts is the first modern sanitary landfill ever to be constructed in Ghana.

The second phase involving the lining of the pit with clay to prevent seepage of leachate, into the underlying soil would commence as soon as possible following the resolution of conflict among stakeholders, Mr Kwadwo Adjei Ofei Darko, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) said in Accra on Wednesday.

Mr Darko was inaugurating a 20-member Technical Advisory Committee on the Kwabenya Landfill site, which has as its term of reference to determine the extent of encroachment on the land earmarked for the development.

The committee would also identify the underlying causes of the impasse between some residents at Kwabenya and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the circumstances leading to the recent actions of some residents.

It would review all previous agreements, projects and programmes related to the development of the landfill.

The committee, which has up till Wednesday June 30 2004 to submit its draft report to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development is also required to recommend immediate action plans to resolve all outstanding issues.

Membership is drawn from key institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and Science, Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, the Environmental protection Agency, Town and Country Planning Department, Opinion leaders from the Communities around the site, Environmental Health Unit of MLGRD, Lands Commission Secretariat and the Ghana Institution of Engineers.

The first phase, which started in July 2001 and ended in January 2002, involved the construction of access roads, a culvert and storm drains at a cost of about three million pounds sterling.

Construction works at the site came to a halt following the evacuation of the site by the first contractor, Taysec. The residents attributed that to their petitioning of the British High Commission to get Taysec off the site.

The residents of Agyemankata, the immediate community of the landfill site, who are still putting up building structures have however, vowed to continue to oppose the sitting of a landfill in the area, saying they would fight with any available means.

Mr Darko said the Kwabenya site was recommended as far back as 1993, but "due to lack of funding the recommendation could not be implemented until late 2000..."

He said since the completion of the first phase, efforts by government to solicit funding for the completion of the project was not forthcoming until last year when the World Bank agreed to finance the completion of works under the proposed Second Urban Environmental Sanitation Project.

He appealed to all interested groups to desist from engaging in any act that has the potential to derail the work of the committee. "Do not have entrenched position, because that would not help the nation. In life, every endeavour is a give and take, let us all sacrifice for our mother Ghana," he said.

Mr Fats Nartey, acting chairman of the committee thanked the Minister for the confidence imposed in members of the committee and pledged to work relentlessly to achieve results.

He therefore, appealed to members to put aside all emotions to enable a fruitful deliberation take place.

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