Accra New Town wants help from AMA (Saturday, July 24, 2010, pg 18)

SOME residents of Accra New Town have called on the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to, as a matter of urgency, revive efforts to construct a big drain that would  run through the community.

      The residents contended that failure to construct the drain would amount to inviting malaria and cholera epidemics in addition to the destruction of properties should there be  heavy flooding.

The drain in question has been taken over by garbage, comprising plastic bags, empty water sachets, leftover food and human waste.

The stench from the drain fills the air, making breathing difficult. Domestic animals were also seen feasting in the drain.

       A fish-smoking oven and a 'pito' joint sited close to the edge of the drain seem to be struggling for position with the mountain of rubbish dumped around.

      An opinion leader, Mr Gibriela Agadi, told the Daily Graphic that even though clearing part of  the drain was done in October last year, there had been any clearing ever since.

     He blamed some residents of the area for the state of the drain saying: “When you confront them, they ask you if you sleep in the gutter.”

     He pleaded with the AMA to help construct the drain, as it was the only means of stopping the menace. "If the gutter is constructed, I am sure most of us here will be vigilant to stop people from filling it with filth," he noted

     Mr Agadi said in the past young, people in the community organised clean-up exercises to clear the drain but they stopped because within days  their efforts were always in vain.

     A resident, Akosua Boahemah, blamed the situation on the unavailability of garbage bins in the community which forced people to sneak under the cover of darkness to dump their refuse in the drains.

"I do not think people will intentionally throw rubbish into the gutter if there is a rubbish container here," she noted.

Another resident, Abena Asiedu, said her house had been invaded by mosquitoes, cockroaches, rodents and some unknown bugs from the drain, a situation which had given rise to malaria and cholera cases.

She said the recent flooding in Accra that swept through the country destroying lives and properties was a cause for concern since there exists a possibility that the drain could overflow in a heavy downpour.

When contacted, the Assembly Member for the area, Hajia Damata Sulemana, had a contrary opinion.

She blamed some landlords in the community for converting their toilets into rooms for habitation and the AMA for not having any law to compel landlords to have basic amenities in their houses.

On efforts made to solve the problem, she said she has received assurances from the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Dr Mustapha Ahmed, who also doubles as a Deputy Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, that the drain remained his priority and would be constructed.

She said  she was organising the landlords in the area to help clear the drain and in addition set up a Neighbourhood Watchdog Committee to ensure that recalcitrant members of the community who dumped refuse in the drain were dealt with.

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