President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the country has increased its capacity of solid waste from 16 percent to 53 percent.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament last Thursday, the president said this is the result of some initiatives being implemented to achieve the goal of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
He also stated that government has achieved immense results in improving sanitation in the country, though admitting that there is still a lot to be done.
“Last year, I reiterated before you my pledge of improving sanitation in the country and making Accra the cleanest city in Africa by the end of my term. There has been a significant improvement in sanitation, even though I acknowledge more can be done. However, this is currently the state of play. We have witnessed an increase in the coverage of solid waste management from 16.6% to 53%,” he stated.
He is of the view that his pledge to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa will be fulfilled.
Akufo-Addo also expressed displeasure at the high incidence of open defecation in the country – a conduct that is undeserving of Ghanaians, and must be eschewed.
He added that government in 2018 constructed more than 35,000 household toilets to deal with the menace.
“Over the course of last year, 35,862 household toilets were built, as opposed to 1,698 in 2016. We will intensify efforts at making Accra a clean city,” he said.
The president said government is working to enforce sanitation bye-laws, and deal with persons who flout them. He said apart from continuing with education and sensitising people, “we intend to use the bye-laws to enforce cleanliness”.
“The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Sanitation are working together to try sanitation offences. Persons who litter will be tried and punished, and so will those who steal litter bins from our streets,” he emphasised.
He further disclosed that GH¢200million has been earmarked to urgently address the issue of filth, especially in Accra.
“We are putting GH₵200m into addressing the sanitation challenges that we have. I am confident that by the time I come back next year, appreciable gains will have been made in improving our sanitation,” he said.
On the issue of plastic waste management, President Akuffo-Addo said: “We intend to solve the problem through the internationally recognised priorities of waste – reduction first, followed by reuse, recycle, recovery and, lastly disposal, which is to be avoided whenever possible.
“Government has prepared a Plastics Management Policy, with the overarching aim of meeting the challenges of comprehensive plastics management. About 82% of Ghana’s plastic-waste could be readily recovered and recycled with existing technologies into value-addition products, in high demand locally and within the West African region,” he said.
He said, currently, extensive discussions are being conducted with investors on the most sustainable options available to rid Ghana of this plastic filth menace, as well as helping build a vibrant recycling industry.