The Executive Chairman of Zoomlion Limited, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, has commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for pledging to make “Accra the cleanest city in Africa in the next four years”.
He said the President’s commitment fed into the company’s vision of championing clean, green and healthy communities.
The President made the pledge last Sunday at Jamestown in Accra, at a ceremony to enstool him as a Chief of Jamestown, under the stool name Nii Kwaku Ablade Okogyeaman I.
“The commitment I want to make, and for all of us to make, is that by the end of my term in office, Accra will be the cleanest city on the entire African continent. That is the commitment I am making,” the President was quoted as saying.
President Akufo-Addo’s declaration comes on the back of a city plagued by serious waste management challenges. In some areas of the city, piles of refuse are sometimes left on pavements, sidewalks and in front of homes, while in other areas, residents who are unable to access waste management services turn drains into refuse bins, especially during the rainy season.
The Zoomlion boss told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the President’s vision was attainable and required concerted effort, including that of the government, the citizenry and the general public, stressing that environmental sanitation was a shared responsibility and, therefore, required everybody’s input.
Dr Agyepong, who is also the President of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), asserted that environmental sanitation, coupled with effective waste management, had great potential for making Ghana a destination of choice for investors and tourists.
“The major challenge which slows down work in this industry is the attitude of people and the promulgation and enforcement of stringent bye-laws that will regulate waste management in all sectors of the economy,” Dr Agyepong said.
The waste and sanitation industry is dominated by indigenous businessmen and women whose contribution to national development goes beyond waste collection, he added.
He explained that in addition to ensuring a clean and green environment, the sector also “helps to improve the health and general well-being of the people, creates jobs for both the young and the old in various sanitation modules, while profits from our business operations are also reinvested in the Ghanaian economy”, he said.
Dr Agyepong said the waste, environment and sanitation industry had the potential to make the government’s one district, one factory vision a reality.
“The industry provides waste collection and haulage, recycling both organic and inorganic solid waste, medical waste and fecal waste treatment and landfills management, among others, with modules that can be replicated in the various districts,” he said.
Dr Agyepong noted that in the past 10 years, Zoomlion alone had made a lot of interventions in the waste and sanitation sector by providing integrated waste management solutions, including the introduction of modern technologies, recycling and manufacturing facilities, transfer stations, and medical and fecal waste treatment plants, among others.
The company, he stated, in collaboration with other sister companies, was dredging the Odaw River in Accra, to curb the perennial flooding of the city during the rainy season.
Dr Agyepong pledged the support of environmental service providers to the government and called on the public to change its attitude and stop the indiscriminate littering to support the President’s vision.
He also called on the city authorities to enforce by-laws on waste management and environmental sanitation to engender discipline.
According to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Accra Metropolis generates 2,000 tonnes of waste daily, out of which 1,500 tonnes are disposed of by waste management companies, leaving a 500-tonnes deficit.