GEMA inaugurates informal waste collectors

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The Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA) has inaugurated 150 registered members of the Borla, Taxi and Tricycle Association (BTTA) in the Municipality to tackle sanitation issues.

The inauguration, which coincided with the donation of some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), was a joint effort by the GEMA, and the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana (UG).

It also had supports from the Green Africa Youth Organisation (GAYO) and the Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA), among others.

The programme was held on the theme, ‘’Cleaning from the Bottom Up-Inclusive Stakeholder Participation for Integrated Waste Management in Africa.”

Madam Janet Tulasi Mensah, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), GEMA, in a speech read on her behalf, said sanitation remained one of the key challenges facing the Assembly’s development and the project was a social dimension to give recognition to informal waste collectors.

She said the meeting was expected to formalise the informal waste management sector and synchronise them towards addressing sanitation issues.

‘’By formalising their operations, we will be able to gather data on all tricycle riders to identify illegal operators as we strive to increase our waste collection coverage to eliminate the illegal dumping of refuse in our municipality,” she said.

The MCE also said that Sanitation Clubs in 31 basic schools were formed to inculcate best sanitation practices in children while using them as peer educators and community-change agents.

Mr Charles Asabre Ampomah, Head of Sanitation and Environment, GEMA, acknowledged the good work of the informal waste pickers, adding that their activities had improved waste management in the Municipality.

He cautioned unregistered waste collectors within the Assembly, saying, “if you are caught, you would be sanctioned,” and urged all to cooperate and abide by the rules and regulations.

Mr Ampomah revealed that the Assembly had secured a transfer station where refuse could be dumped, adding that it would be ready for use in 2023.

He stated that the Assembly would liaise with the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to obtain licenses for the waste collectors.

Dr Dzidzo Yirenya Tawiah, Senior Research Fellow at IESS, UG, said regularising activities of informal waste pickers was necessary because it would give them the needed recognition in the Ga East Assembly.

“I think this initiative will encourage them and also ensure safety in discharging their roles to keep the communities clean’’, she said.

Dr Tawiah said stakeholders had roles to play in ensuring proper waste management practices and also called on all to treat the waste collectors with utmost respect because “they are doing a lot and need our support.”

She mentioned that IESS was set to engage the Engineering Department of the University of Ghana to begin research on improper waste management and its related effects.

Mrs Lydia Bamfo, National Chairperson of BTTA, said she would work together with members of the Association to organise other informal waste collectors to become registered members.

She expressed gratitude to GEMA and other stakeholders and pledged to discharge her duties effectively to keep the Ga East Municipality clean.

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