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28.07.2004 General News

Reduce size of Landfill Project - Committee

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Accra, July 28, 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 the boundary of land required for the landfill be reduced by 250 meters all round. It also gave the Government the option of re-locating towards the site to the south-eastern end of the area where land development was limited.

Mr Issah Ketekewu, Chairman of the Committee and a Deputy Minister of MLGRD, said the Committee recommended that as much as possible, "the boundary of land required for the landfill, including land required as buffer, should be revised to exclude nearly 229 plots of land that are either developed or have already been allocated for development by the land owners".

He was presenting the final report of the Committee's work to the Minister, MLGRD, Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko in Accra on Wednesday. He said the cut-off size of about 250 meters all round, out of the original 106 hectares, would become the new buffer zone. It would be planted with trees to absorb all the gases that would be emitted from the landfill.

"This will solve the problems of the people of Agyemankata, who would be completely excluded from the landfill and its buffer zone." The Committee numbering about 30 members was initially scheduled to present its report on June 30, two weeks from the time of inauguration, but had to solicit for an additional four weeks to enable it to address the issues adequately.

Its terms of reference included the determination of the extent of encroachment on the land earmarked for the development of the landfill. It was also to identify the underlying causes of the impasse between some residents and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the circumstances that led to the recent unlawful action of some residents.

The Committee noted: "It is technically possible to exclude the lands at the centre of the controversy and still have an adequately sized sanitary landfill at Kwabenya to serve the overall interest of the city."

It, therefore, recommended that a consultant be appointed to review and adapt available designs to the revised boundary being proposed. "All steps required for acquisition and compensation payment should be completed in the shortest possible time. An oversight committee should be appointed to ensure sustainability of efforts," he said.

The Survey Department was also recommended to undertake the survey and mapping of the revised boundary being proposed while the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) fulfilled its promise of providing the Kwabenya Township with some social amenities such as water, electricity, telephone, hospitals and roads.

The Committee also recommended that education and sensitisation campaigns be promoted and sustained in all the communities. Mr Ketekewu said the Kwabenya Sanitary Landfill was a viable venture and would offer a significant improvement on the current practice of open dumping and would be much more cost effective than other treatments or disposal options.

He said the new development was likely to reduce the lifespan of the proposed landfill to a maximum of 15 years instead of the original 20 to 25 years.

Mr Adjei-Darko thanked the Committee for a good work done saying he would forward the report to Cabinet for the necessary comments. "As individuals and organisations we should be patriotic and not have entrenched positions when it comes to national issues. There is nobody in this country that can boldly say he or she does not produce waste," he said. 28 July 04