Sunday, July 5, 2015

‘Lavender Hill’ to give way to modern waste treatment site



By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA

Cesspit Emptiers at the Lavender Hill

Plans are far advanced to close down Accra’s famed liquid waste disposal site at Korle Gonno, notoriously known as ‘Lavender Hill’, because of the stench associated with it.

Many attempts have been made over the years to completely shut down the liquid waste disposal site, where an average of 200 cesspit trucks empty their untreated cargo directly into the sea, because the facility that was built some decades ago has completely broken down.

The moves to close Lavender Hill include an injunction by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sought from the court, to bar the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) from overseeing further dumping of raw faecal waste at the site.

This has, however, failed, as the city lacks liquid waste treatment and disposal sites to receive faecal waste from homes and establishments.

Shut down process
Nonetheless, that will soon change, according to Mr Fredrik Sunesson, the Chief Executive Officer of Slamson Ghana Ltd, a waste treatment company that is working with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the AMA to construct a modern waste treatment and compost plant at ‘Lavender Hill.’

Mr Sunesson told journalists who were on a visit to the Mudor Faecal Treatment Plant adjacent the ‘Lavender Hill’, which is currently at phase one, that “within weeks we should be able to start the process of closing ‘Lavender Hill.’”

He said the treatment process which had already begun at the plant site was such that it would conform to EPA’s standards and be “a zero discharge facility.” He added, “we are not going to release anything into nature that is qualified as waste.”

He said the facility would not only produce compost for which the market was ready, but other useful resources such as charcoal from the liquid waste deposited at the facility, which will help change Ghana’s current grading as the country  with the third highest deforestation rate in the world.

Organic charcoal
Mr Sunesson, however, stated that although commercial production of the organic charcoal had not begun, the fact was that “we can make bio fuel that we can use in our homes from something that we produce every day.”

“So we can say that it is the only source of fuel that increases with population growth. The more people, the more fuel we can make,” he stated.

He explained that the organic charcoal was 100 per cent safe, as it had been heated up to 400 degrees and so all pathogens and bacteria had been killed.

“Waste is money, waste is not waste. This can be sold in bags – 50kg bag, and it costs almost nothing to make. So the waste can work for the city and not against the city. The waste can actually be the solution and not the problem as it is today,” he said.

Writer’s email: edmund.asante@graphic.com.gh

This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on July 2, 2015

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