Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to a Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Afram Plains South, Hon Joseph Appiah Boateng on the issue of waste disposal and its environmental and health impact on society.
Mr Speaker, this Statement could not have been made at any better time than now, more especially, given the experience we had on June 3rd 2015 in Accra. Mr Speaker, the issue of waste is something, that, as human beings, we can never avoid.
Most of our efforts have concentrated so much on, perhaps, what goes into us but hardly should we forget that, whatever goes into us, or whatever makes us what we are, also has to be disposed off in one way or the other. But most of the times, our discussions in our homes, our communities and even at the national level centre so much on what makes us happy but hardly should we also forget about how to dispose of the waste we generate after getting the comfort that we get.
Mr Speaker, I would want to re-echo the point that the Hon Member made; in looking at the issues of waste disposal, we, once again, have to look at issues of special planning in cities and in our communities. Mr Speaker, every District, Municipal or Metropolitan Assembly in this country has a committee called the Statutory Planning Committee, which is responsible for special planning in the various Assemblies.
In spite of the fact that we have this committee, we still find issues of people putting up structures at unauthorised places. What is even more annoying is that, sometimes, if you go to their offices, you can find the best of plans but when you go to the ground and you want to relate what is on paper or what is even on the computer to what reflects on the ground, they do not match.
Very often, you have unscrupulous Ghanaians, some come from some of the District Assemblies, some also come from traditional authorities, and some come from ordinary individuals, using lands that have otherwise been earmarked for sanitation zones, and re-allocating them to people to put up structures.
There are communities where waste collection, whether solid or liquid waste, are so difficult to even find a place to dispose of them. Sometimes, you may have to travel a lot of kilometres before you can even get a place to dispose of your waste.
Mr Speaker, in Accra city today, the waste contractors hardly get places where they would dispose of solid waste. They may either have to move outside Accra city to nearby District Assemblies or nearby Municipal Assemblies before they can dispose of the waste. Why has it happened so? Do we have to incur so much cost in moving those things before we can dispose of them?
Mr Speaker, one other issue that personally, I have championed a cause to challenge is the issue of polluter-pay method of collecting waste. Mr Speaker, people generate waste irrespective of their social standing; the rich contributes to waste in the society, the poor does same.
Whereas perhaps, the rich could afford to pay, the poor person may not be able to pay. But whatever it is, the waste would have to be disposed of. So what happens? Perhaps, the person looks left and right, and if nobody is coming, he throws off the waste somewhere. I think our city authorities should be innovative in coming out with proper ways of funding waste collection than, insisting on the ‘polluter-pay method' as the only way or the easiest way of collecting and therefore, using that as the way of collecting waste in our cities.
Mr Speaker, it is on record that, on a daily basis, cities like Accra and Kumasi get an influx of more than a million people in a day. Most of these people come to Accra to trade or to do their business and go back.
As they come, by nature, they would be forced to drop off some of their “wastes”, let me put it into quotes. They would buy one or two things, these things would be wrapped in either a polythene bag or a paper, which they would also dispose of.
These people cannot be traced to a particular residential area where if you are using the ‘polluter-pay' method, they would go and collect fees from them but their waste would by all means, be disposed of. That is why I am saying that, we should be more ingenious in coming out with ways of collecting moneys associated with waste disposal.
But we should also avoid a situation where, for every single thing that somebody needs, he would have to move all the way from his community to the centre of our cities, Accra and Kumasi before the person can get that thing. W have to develop our district and regional capitals in such a way that most of these people who travel to the city centres or to Accra, may not find it necessary. Maybe, we can avoid this influx of people who