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26.01.2006 General News

VEEP concerned about poor sanitation in Accra


Accra, Jan. 26, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, on Thursday organised a snap inspection of the multi-billion cedi sanitation projects in the Accra Metropolis and expressed concern about the mounting unsanitary condition of the national capital.

The three-hour tour took him to the office premises of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly AMA), where the officials including the Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Stanley Adjiri Blankson accompanied him to the 92 million-dollar Korle-bu Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project and the James Town Beach, where the city authorities have initiated a project to clean up the potential tourist facility.

The Vice President also inspected a proposed site for a cluster of schools at Korle- Gonno, the 15 billion cedis Odawna Traders' Resettlement Project and the 12 billion cedi new Achimota Lorry Terminal.

Addressing mini durbars at the various places he visited, Vice President Mahama stressed the need for environmental sanitation to prevent the outbreak of malaria and other communicable diseases. He said the Ministry of Health spent over 800 billion cedis every year to treat malaria, which he said was a preventable disease. Vice President Mahama complained about the littering of the city, choked gutters, smearing the beaches with human excreta and dead lagoons, observing that the mindset of the people should change.

"Cleanliness is next to godliness. Let us keep Accra clean to attract tourists", adding cleanliness is also vital for good health. He said the decongestion exercise in Accra was not meant to punish any body, emphasising that: "The ruling New Patriotic Party was not a sadist government. This is a listening Government, that is why we have provided the hawkers to be displaced by the exercise the new market."

Vice President Mahama said by the end of May this year, the project would be completed.

He expressed his commitment to join a massive clean up exercise in Accra on Saturday, January 28 and called on every one in the city to participate.

"Let us revive the spirit of self-help since government cannot clean every part of Accra."

Mr Blankson said AMA spent over two billion cedis to desilt the Odaw lagoon and expressed concern that shortly after, the water body was choked again with waste products.

He warned that anyone found dumping refuse into the lagoon would be arrested and prosecuted.

Mr Blankson said landlords and landladies who had no toilet facilities in their houses had been given two months to build one or face prosecution.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive said the Assembly with over 3,000 members of staff was operating without adequate logistics, thus affecting performance including revenue generation. Mr Sakkie Le Roux, Project Manager of the Korle Lagoon Project told the Vice President that the project, which comprised the dredging of the upper lower lagoon, drainage improvement, disposal and landscaping was 95 per cent complete.

He said regular maintenance excavation and removal of silt in the canals and plastic waste was the bane of the project. Mr Roux stressed the need for the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to facilitate the re-dredging of the lagoon.