Environmental IssuesPollution

Aftermath of the launch of ‘Operation Clean Your Frontage’: the situation in two major markets in Accra

By Samuel Nyigmabo

Following the launch of ‘Operation Clean Your Frontage’ by the Greater Accra regional minister, Henry Quartey on February 1, 2022, Ghanaenvironment.com took to two major markets within the metropolis to assess their sanitation situation. A visit to the Malam Attah ( Malata) and Kaneshie markets on Valentine’s Day, thus two weeks after commencement of policy saw a slight improvement in the lingering sanitation problems in the markets.

Malam Attah Market

The Malam Attah or Malata market is one of the major markets in Accra and is well known for the retail of foodstuffs. The market which is located in the Ayawaso North Municipal Assembly serves customers from areas such as Accra New Town, Kokomelemele, Pick Farm, Dzorwulu, and many others. The market like others within the region has been battling with sanitation issues which over the years have caused flooding within the enclave.

The ‘Operation Clean Your Frontage’ as launched by the regional minister was to among other things curb the lagging sanitation problems at public places. A visit to the Malata market by Ghanaenvironment revealed a proportionate improvement in the sanitation of the market.

The entrance of the market was mostly filthy with rubbers being swung around by air from the passing cars. One was first welcomed to the market by the malodorous smell that emanates from the chocked gutters and piles of waste waiting to be collected. The situation looks a bit different as there were no piles of waste throughout the market. Nonetheless, some gutters around the entrance and a few meters away from the market were still choked with rubbish, and shop owners sat aloof.

Some others were cleared but the garbage was still lying at the brim of the gutters. When we spoke to some of the shop owners they claimed the ZoomLion truck that gather the waste comes to the market only on Mondays and they couldn’t come on time to meet the truck so they were left with no choice but to leave the waste beside the gutter. Those who sat aloof argued that even if they clear the rubbish from the gutters it will sit beside the gutters until the next Monday before it will be collected.

Some other traders lamented that when they sweep their around shops and various selling points the ZoomLion workers refuse to dispose of their wastes and they have to bear additional costs by hiring private individuals to do the disposal. They raised concerns that there are no bins placed at vantage areas of the market to facilitate the easy disposal of waste by people who come to the market which results in the persistent littering of the markets.

The traders noted that since the first day of the ‘Operation Clean Your Frontage’ where the taskforce came to ensure compliance they have not returned to see what has transpired in the last two weeks.

However, the Regional Minister at the launch of the exercise insisted that “this is not a nine-day wonder, we will continue with this exercise and we want this exercise to stay with us so that one day when there is no Henry Quartey another Greater Accra Regional Minister will continue from there”

Kaneshie Market

Located in the Okakoi south constituency, the market serves people from North Kaneshie, Bubuashie, Awudome, Atico, and its environs. The market has over the years been a major hard-hit area by floods due to the poor sanitation in the area. Choked gutters, piles of uncollected garbage, and unpleasant smells are the major sanitary problems of the market.

Two weeks after the launch of the famous ‘Operation Clean Your Frontage’ exercise, not much has changed. One major improvement within the market has to do with decongestion. Traders who use to sell on the brims of the road causing human and vehicular traffic have been cleared off. The persistent problem of waste left uncollected seem to have been rectified as Ghanaenevironment couldn’t record any lump of rubbish within the market.

A stroll through the market revealed shop owners and traders placing bins and cartons for their customers to easily dispose waste.

Nevertheless, choked gutters remain a problem in the market. The various gutters within the market remained choked with rubbish discharging an unpleasant smell all over the area. The traders who sell near these gutters seemed unperturbed about the situation and are going about their normal duties. Some even sell food close to these gutters unmoved about the consequences it may have on those who consume such food. When Ghanaenvironment tried to speak to some of the traders, they declined the offer citing reasons unfounded.

One, however, revealed that since February 1, 2022, when the exercise commenced the task-force were yet to return to the market.

The Regional Minister, Henry Quartey during the launch of the exercise disclosed that they have received clearance from the minister of finance to recruit about 3, 500 of which 1,200 are already in training and are expected to be out by the first week of March to be deployed onto the street to ensure strict adherence and implementation of the Bye-law.

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