President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday said the attitude of dumping garbage into gutters and drains was not only a health threat, but an impediment to the achievement of Millennium Development Goal on sanitation.
He said: “We need to constantly eschew and educate Ghanaians on that bad attitude of throwing their garbage into gutters and drains, since they are not meant to be used as garbage containers.”
President Mahama said this when he broke the grounds for commencement of work on the Accra Sanitary Sewer and stormwater drainage alleviation project under the theme: “Working together to create a clean capital city.”
The project, which is being financed by the Standard Charted Bank, World Bank and the Export and Import Bank (EXIM,U.S.A) is estimated to cost $595.7 million.
It is aimed at improving the drainage and sewer systems in the Accra Metropolis, by focusing on the flood zone in the Odaw basin and beyond and to alleviate flooding and insanitary conditions in the capital.
The project is also aimed at drastically improving Accra’s flood protection and waste water treatment, manage all surface water in the Accra area and beyond and to elevate Accra’s overall quality of life and advance the city’s ecology, economy and tourism.
President Mahama said the success of the project would encourage government to replicate it in all other regional capitals to rid the country of filth and other insanitary conditions that were retarding the country’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goal on Water and Sanitation.
He commended Parliament and the U.S EXIM Bank for approving the loans for the project and releasing the funding for commencement of work respectively and appealed to chiefs and other stakeholders to come on board to ensure the successful execution of the project, that would subsequently provide quality of life to the citizenry in the capital.
President Mahama, who attributed the high level of bad sewerage and sanitary conditions to population explosion in Accra, gave the assurance that government would continue to work closely with development partners to provide adequate facilities that would improve the lives of all those living in urban areas.
Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, said apart from cleaning and excavating the Odaw channel and the central business district drain, the project would also re-vitalize and dredge the Korle Lagoon, construct 20 hectares of sedimentation basins upstream for the odaw channel.
He said it would also train and develop local employees to operate and provide waste collection services for three years during execution and perform a feasibility study and on new landfill design in the capital.
Madam Patricia Alsup, Deputy US Ambassador to Ghana, said after the agreement was signed the United States Embassy solicited input from American companies with expertise in urban works and construction that brought the EXIM bank on board.
She said the Conti-group, which is to execute the project had enormous experience in storm drainage and flood protection after playing an instrumental role in the United States after the Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.