Let’s accept sanitation levy - Waste management companies

Accra, March 23, GNA - Zoomlion Ghana Limited and other players in the management and treatment of waste have asked Ghanaians to accept to pay the 10 pesewas Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) on petroleum products as proposed by the government.

The Government of Ghana in the 2021 Budget Statement proposed the 10 pesewa tax on the price per litre of petrol and diesel under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA).

Caretaker Finance Minister Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu presenting the budget, explained that "the tax is to improve urban air quality and combat air pollution, and support the re-engineering of landfill sites at Kpone and Oti.”

Despite complaints by a section of Ghanaians and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) against the tax, the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), Sewerage System Ghana Limited (SSGL) and Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) have applauded the Government for it.

They explained that the collection and proper management of revenue from the tax would help the sanitation sector greatly and reduce the loans they contract and government subventions to them.

They also embraced the levy on the grounds of increasing the cost of segregating household waste.

Among activities to be embarked on are fumigation of public spaces, schools, health centres and markets; revamp or reconstruct poorly managed landfill facilities and construct more waste treatment plants both solid and liquid in selected locations across the country.

“If you generate your waste, you must pay for it. The polluter pay system must work. Not that somebody must pay for the waste that you are generating,” Mr Eric Amofo Sarkodie, Head of Process Engineering at Sewage Systems Ghana Limited, said, in Accra.

The remarks were made when members of the Parliamentary Press Corps toured some waste management and treatment plants in Accra and Nsawam.

The facilities visited were the Zoompak Ghana Limited in Teshie/Nungua; the Mudor Sewage Treatment Plant and the Lavender Hill Faecal Treatment Plant at James Town, the Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant Limited Sewerage System at Korle Gonnor, in Accra.

At the Zoompak Ghana Limited, at Teshie Nungua, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies (JGC) Group, Mr Senam Tengey, the Head of the Medical Waste Department, said Zoompak had distributed about 4000 bins across Ghana to facilitate the separation of medical waste at source.

“Some of the sorted waste will be collected by dedicated trucks and taken to the medical waste treatment centre,” Mr Tengey said.

This has become necessary since the Government of Ghana launched the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, after obtaining the first 600,000 doses of vaccine under the Covax initiative.

Mr Tengey said Zoompak Ghana was currently developing additional facilities in all 16 regions to accommodate the waste that would be generated during the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

“Each regional facility will have an autoclave supported by a steam boiler. The steam produced will be used to kill all germs and micro-organisms in medical waste. It will then be transferred to a machine that shreds the sterilised waste for safe disposal at a pre-determined site,” Mr Tengey added.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in this year’s State of the Nation Address announced that the Government of Ghana had planned to build 14 more treatment units to manage and dispose of medical waste throughout the country.

Mr Durmu Findkci, Chief Executive Officer of Zoompak Ghana Limited said the facility was one of a kind in Africa and called on the Government of Ghana to give it maximum support.

At the Sewerage Systems Ghana Ltd (SSGL), Mr Amofa Sarkodie said the Company spent over Ghc20, 000 monthly to separate solid waste- used condoms, aborted babies, plastics- trapped in the liquid waste that were discharged at the facility.

The Lavender Hill facility generates by-products such as biogas and solid products used for producing organic manure and charcoal while the water is treated for reuse or flushed into the Korle Lagoon.

The team finally visited Adipa Landfill Site (Sanitation Park) at Nsawam where land preparation is underway to serve as the biggest landfill, in the next 50 years.

Mr Simon Agianab, Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps, said the 10 pesewas on petroleum products would go a long way to help solve the sanitation challenges confronting the country.

The expected benefits of the Sanitation Levy are to improve public health, help sanitation-related diseases as malaria, typhoid and cholera.

It would also help fee finances for the ministry of health to undertake infrastructure projects such as the retooling of existing health facilities and building of more regional, municipal and district health facilities.