The Director of Urban Studies and Head of the Geography and Resource Development Department at the University of Ghana, Professor Martin Oteng Ababio says current policies aimed at managing waste in the country are irrelevant and inappropriate in fighting the menace.
According to him, policies drafted to manage waste must be depoliticized to achieve their intended goal.
Speaking during an inaugural lecture on the topic Double Standards, Single Purpose: Deconstructing the Fence Wall for Sustainable Municipal Waste Management, Professor Martin Oteng Ababio bemoaned the lack of an independent approach in fighting waste management in the country.
“The policies that we are pursuing today are inappropriate, misplaced, irrelevant. And I want to be very emphatic, very irrelevant and harmful. Most of the policies are politically loaded. When there’s a change in government, you see how they panic.”
“The truth of the matter is that, if you go and invest in waste management equipment like trucks, you can never use it for anything, apart from waste. When you buy trucks, it’s for waste. So, if you are a subject of controversy by political advisory, then you have a big problem. I want to say that our policies are pro-poor and targeting the vulnerable”.
He further indicated that Ghana must see waste as a resource; thus there is a need for a public-private partnership.
“Government sees the private sector as somebody who should be watched. The private sector, sees the government as somebody who wants to take his work from him. But that shouldn’t be the case. There must be partnership. It’s about time we start thinking about waste as a resource”.
In Ghana, about 12,710 tons of solid waste is generated daily, with less than 20% collected and disposed of at designated dumping sites. A major challenge in the management of solid waste in Ghana is the collection and disposal processes, which are labour-intensive and often not effective.
To solve this menace, Professor Oteng Ababio indicated the need for public education and the need for individuals to take charge of their waste.