Monday, August 24, 2015

Looming Sanitation Crisis In Tamale

Residents of Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region of Ghana would have to brace themselves for more serious insanitary conditions in their neighbourhoods following the Assembly’s announcement that it currently has no money to deal with the monumental sanitation problem in the city.
The Assembly needs about 4 million Ghana cedis annually to effectively manage sanitation in the sprawling metropolis. But at the moment, officials can only raise 2 million Ghana cedis, Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) Abdul-Hanan Rahman Gundadow disclosed this when he addressed citizens at the Assembly’s 2015 maiden Town Hall Meeting organised in collaboration with Northern Development Society.

Town Hall Meetings per the Local Government Act (Act 462, 1993) are supposed to be held twice in a year by all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to sensitize citizens on their development plans and achievements during the course of the year and to make projects for the coming year.

Town Hall Meetings also afford citizens the opportunity to ask questions on projects being executed by the Assemblies and their development partners, make reviews and suggestions to ongoing programmes.

A Programmes Officer of ActionAid Ghana, Alia Mimuni strongly advocated for the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly to charge people who generate waste in their homes and at their work places. Ms. Mimuni believed making people pay a fee for the waste they generate would ease the financial burden on the Assembly. 

She also raised concern over the Assembly’s poor management of its landfill site located at Gbalahi in the Sagnarigu District. According to her, the other engineered landfill sites in the country such as Accra and Kumasi were well maintained compared to Tamale’s. 

However, in a response to Ms Alia Mimuni, Mr. Gundadow said the Assembly was currently in talks with Bola Waste Solutions, a waste management company based in Accra to ensure the effective and efficient management of huge volumes of solid waste generated in the metropolis. 

According to him, the Assembly was reviewing the proposals of the company and would soon decide whether to engage them or not. He was however quick to add that Bola Waste Solutions would only recycle the waste into compost and sell it to farmers if they were eventually engaged. 

Mr. Gundadow further indicated that the Assembly had resolved to discourage the use of the landfill site approach in the management of waste due to the high cost of maintenance and environmental hazards it posed to residents in the nearby communities.

In spite of the challenges being faced by the Assembly, a number of public toilet facilities have been constructed to address one part of the sanitation problem in the city. They include the construction of 12no. 20-seater aqua privy toilets with perimeter fencing at Changshegu, Chansherigu, Tuutingli, Gumbihini, Koblimahagu, Lamashegu North, Dabokpa-Kalariga, Dakpema Primary, Nalung-fong, Nyohini Binabani, Sanzerigu, Banvim and Kalpohini.

The rest are located at Business Senior High School, Ghana Senior High School, St. Peters Primary School, Sakasaka Cluster of Schools, Jerigu Primary and Junior High Schools, Anwar-Rahman Islamic School as well as Choggu, Chagnaayili, Kanvili, Dohinaayili, Nakpanzoo and Dungu communities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gundadow acknowledged the support of various youth groups, security agencies as well as chiefs towards the monthly organisation of National Sanitation Day programmes in the metropolis. He however bemoaned the high level of apathy among some citizens and residents towards the programme and cleaning of their own homes. 

He therefore called for an attitudinal change amongst citizens and urged parents to inculcate in their children, a sense of decency and environmental cleanliness. “Opinion leaders, heads of decentralised departments, traditional and religious leaders should also complement the efforts of the Assembly by organizing periodic cleanup exercises in their communities and places of work to enable the metropolis improve upon its sanitation situation”, he urged.   

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