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16.07.2004 Regional News

Relocate Landfill Project to southeastern end - Committee

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Accra, July 16, GNA - The Technical Advisory Committee set up by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) on the Kwabenya Landfill Project has recommended that it should be re-located at the southeastern end of the area where land development is limited. A source close to the Committee told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Accra on Friday that the refusal of the people of Agyemankata to be part of the technical committee did not help the Committee to address their grievances.

"The project is good and we cannot have it totally abandoned. The most we could do was to recommend that it is shifted from its original boundary to an area slightly away from the people of Agyemankata and the original buffer zone," the source said.

The source said the Committee extended deadline in order to get the people of Agyemankata to make an input, but their efforts went unheeded. The people of Agyemankata in the Ga District have been vehemently opposed to the Kwabenya Landfill Project saying it is a great health hazard to them.

This is despite assurances from the authorities that it is a modern landfill site that has taken into consideration environmental and health concerns.

Work has stalled for many months now with the residents vowing never to allow it to be continued.

The Ministry set up the 20-member Committee to probe the hostility of the community to the location of the Project.

Membership of the technical advisory committee was drawn from institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and Science, Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, Town and Country Planning Department, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, opinion leaders from the communities surrounding the site, Environmental Health Unit of MLGRD, Lands Commission Secretariat and the Ghana Institution of Engineers.

Members of the Committee visited the Kumasi Landfill during the last week of June to acquaint themselves with operations of a landfill and to ascertain whether the Accra project could be implemented based on the same model.

With the education from Kumasi and other factors the committee concluded that the Kwabenya Landfill was a viable project. Surveyors have therefore been contacted to work out the details for the demarcation of a new site, which would include a proportion of the old plan.

The residents of Agyemankata, the immediate community of the landfill site, who are still putting up buildings around the former buffer zone, have vowed to continue to oppose the location of a landfill in the area saying they would fight it to death.

The resident alleged that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly had no title deed to the land and therefore had no right to locate a landfill there.

The source said that under the World Bank funding, residents who needed to be relocated would be given the due compensation. No resident would be considered as a squatter, but all would be compensated accordingly.

The committee recommended that the AMA should carry out proper education for residents to enable them to understand the concept of landfills.

It also recommended there was the need to derive benefits from the high amount of organic proportion of the waste generated in the city instead of landfilling to prevent excessive gas generation and emissions.

It therefore tasked the AMA and the Ga District Assembly to undertake some form of sorting out of the waste for the organic parts to be composted for agriculture.

"Sixty per cent of the city's waste is organic in origin and there is the need for us to develop composting techniques to ease the burden on the landfill project and to ensure a longer life span," the source said.

The committee called for the provision of social amenities such as water, electricity, telephone, hospitals and roads to the community of Kwabenya to ensure the success of the landfill

It also called for the intensification of public education and sensitisation programmes.

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