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19.10.2005 Regional News

Minister asks assemblies to consider privatising solid waste managt

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Atimpoku (E/R), Oct. 19, GNA - The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, has asked district assemblies to consider privatising the management of solid waste, as a way of freeing themselves of the increasing cost of waste disposal and management.

He noted that, while most assemblies seem capable of disposing liquid waste, they have been found wanting in managing solid waste because of the huge financial cost involved. In an address read for him at the launch of the Eastern Region Sanitation Week at Atimpoku, near Akosombo on Tuesday, Mr Barimah said for effective waste management and to reduce the running cost burdens on the assemblies, there was the need to privatise solid waste management, especially in first-tier residential areas on pilot basis. Failure to do this, he cautioned, would be detrimental to the public weal, since it would exact more sanitation-related diseases with their attendant cost on the national purse and the human resource base of the country.

According to Mr Barimah, treating malaria alone currently cost Ghana 865 billion cedis annually.

Also worrying, he pointed out, was the rising incidence of degenerative diseases due to the increasing preference by many Ghanaians for high-fat fast foods, a rising tobacco use and alcohol intake. These combined factors, when left unchecked, he warned, could lead to an increasing burden of unconquered infections and degenerative diseases.

Presenting an overview of the sanitation situation in the region, the region's Environmental Health Officer, Mr F. K. Quist, disclosed that only 40 per cent of the 1,550 tonnes of refuse generated daily in the region was disposed off, while only 30 per cent of the region's population was served by an acceptable household toilet facility.

Mr Quist also spoke on the menace posed by stray animals which, he said, could be reduced when kraals were relocated outside district capitals.

The Asuogyaman District Chief Executive, Mr Emmanuel Ntow Bediako, enumerated a number of actions undertaken by his outfit, such as the provision of portable water and places of convenience that had earned it the Cleanest District award in the region and the fourth best in the country.

To sustain the momentum, Mr Bediako announced the establishment of the Cleanest Community and School and urged traditional authorities in the district to support the drive.

The Asuogyaman, East Akim and Birim South districts were honoured for being the first, second and third best cleanest districts in the region, respectively.