By Kodjo Adams, GNA
Accra, March 2, GNA – The Kpone Landfill and Biakoye Waste Pickers Association on Thursday appealed to government to assist them with a health post near the landfill site to provide first aid in times of injuries and medical emergency.
The Association urged government, national and international development organizations to support them through capacity building and improve upon their operational capabilities.
Mr Johnson Doe, the Chairman of the Association made the appeal at Tema to mark the World Waste Pickers Day under the theme: « One Day of Celebration, 364 Days of Struggle ».
The International Waste Pickers Day, observed in honour of eleven Waste Pickers brutally killed in a University in Columbia in 1992.
Mr Doe said the association had contributed immensely in managing the environment, preventing outbreaks of diseases in the communities and depending on recyclable materials to support their families.
According to him their outfit has the requisite knowledge and experiences in the management of solid waste in the communities.
He urged the Metropolitan and District Assemblies to include informal Waste Pickers sanitation management strategies to tackle the waste problems.
« We play an important role in sanitation and environment management, adding that our activities has helped increase life of the landfills by taking away large quantities of recyclable materials which are dumped on the site, » he added.
He said workers get their main source of income from collecting, sorting and selling recyclable materials to support their families.
He called for recognition of their Waste Pickers profession; « our fight for respect and recognition of our work and conditions as legitimate and important for national development was still not recognized since in many places they were often harassed, disrespected and treated harshly ».
Ms Ana Ussier, the Manager of « Pick-it » an Integrated Waste Pickers project in Tema Newtown said the project was launched to increase the volumes of plastics collected and improve the livelihood of waste pickers.
She said the project was in partnership with the Tema Traditional Council, Fan Milk Limited, WIEGO, Environmental 360, and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA).
She indicated that the project had a financing model and would provide leadership for the project team and coordinates all the implementing partners during the piloting period to « enable the development of sustainable practices and enter chain value from the collection of the waste till the recycling of it ».
Mr Solomon Noi, Head of the Waste Management Department, TMA expressed concern about the damaging effects of plastic wastes in the country, and that the project has come as a relief because it would help tackle the menace of plastic waste in the Municipality.
He said Tema produced about 800 metric tonnes of solid waste everyday 26 per cent of which was plastic waste adding that the Assembly together with government was planning to prescribe appropriate technological innovations to deal with solid waste.