Accra, Dec. 30, GNA- The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) on Thursday said refuse collecting agencies in the Metropolis were not on Christmas holiday but were working round the clock to ensure that garbage generated during the period was collected and disposed of.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, Mr Ben Laryea, Head of the Waste Management Department of the AMA, said the heaps of garbage in some parts of the metropolis during the Christmas holidays were not because refuse collecting agencies were not doing their work. Rather, he said, it was because of the volume of refuse generated as a result of the number of people who spent the yuletide in the metropolis.
Mr Laryea assured the public that the situation was under control and that the refuse collecting companies would also work throughout the New Year holidays.
He said even though the AMA had a few problems to contend with, Government released six billion cedis which was paid to the 14 refuse collecting agencies as part of their arrears a week before the Christmas holidays to enable them to work throughout the holidays.
Garbage in some parts of the metropolis like Dansoman, Kaneshie, Makola and Russia had not been collected for over three days by the companies working in these areas.
But Mr Laryea explained that this was partly due to mechanical failure of some of the refuse collecting trucks, which could not be repaired because auto mechanics were on holiday.
He said at Makola for instance traders, who generate so much garbage, had taken over the pavements and parts of the road thus making it difficult for the refuse trucks to cart the garbage during the day. Mr Laryea added that action had been taken on Thursday morning to clear the heaps at Makola.
He said the situation would have been worse if the refuse collecting agencies were not working because the volume of waste generated was so huge that it would have created havoc. Mr Laryea explained that refuse had not been collected at the Kaneshie Market because trucks of the refuse company had a serious mechanical problem.
However, he said, the garbage had been cleared on Thursday morning. Asked whether the AMA did not apply sanctions against defaulting collecting agencies, Mr Laryea explained that contractors who failed to collect garbage at the stipulated times were sanctioned under the contractual agreement with the AMA.
However, AMA is handicapped because it was not able to pay them regularly.
"If you don't pay the contractors, you don't have the moral right to sanction them as per the contract."
He said the AMA paid 60,000 cedis for tonne of garbage colleted and the agencies hauled about 1,500 tonnes daily.
Mr Laryea said it was time for residents to pay for the disposal of their garbage because the AMA could not generate enough revenue to pay for it. 30 Dec 04