Private waste managers in Ghana have held a press conference to outline key challenges stifling efforts to improve sanitation in urban areas.

Key among these challenges, according to them, is the government’s failure to pay them some GH¢ 42 million for executing various waste management services under a public-private contract.

The private waste companies, who are members of the Environmental Service Providers Association of Ghana (ESPA) on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, partnered with the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) to hold the press conference that was aimed at highlighting issues in the sanitation sector.

According to ESPA and CONIWAS, the GH¢ 42 million debt that government owes landfill operators, for instance, has forced some of the operators to withdraw their services.

“We urgently call on government to pay all outstanding debts owed to landfill operators to ensure the efficient operation of these sites,” the two institutions said in a joint press statement issued after the conference.

They also note that the current state of landfill sites across the country makes them fire hazards, a situation they say pose a threat to the environment.

“In 2019, both the Kpone landfill in Greater Accra and Oti Landfill in the Ashanti Region recorded fire outbreaks in July and November respectively. The Nsumia dumpsite near Accra is not also accessible during some parts of the year. These incidences resulted in long days of queuing to dump.

“The prolonged delays at the landfills coupled with other challenges led to increased backlog of waste in the cities and intermittent service delivery by private waste service providers. This is a situation characterised by uncollected refuse from communal sites and households is something which many of you can attest to,” they said in the joint statement.

They say Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi Takoradi, Sunyani, Ho, and Tamale are among urban areas facing the adverse effects of the waste management challenges that have been instigated by failure of the government to fulfil its end of the public-private partnership.

The full statement issued by ESPA and CONIWAS after the presser is published below.