According to the Chronicle newspaper (as reported in the general news web page of www.ghanaweb.com of 25th November, 2008) Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, who is a deputy minister (of local government, science and environment and member of parliament for Asokwa constituency in the Ashanti Region, no less!) has: “... hinted that the country would import garbage to augment the new technology of transforming waste to energy, which is scheduled to take place early next year. According to him, the project, which would cost the country $250 million after completion, will provide Kumasi and its environs 50 megawatts of energy for the next fifteen years..."
Is this perhaps yet another classic example of naïve African politicians being hoodwinked by crafty foreigners, because of their ignorance? It is so typical of the incompetents into whose hands Nkrumah’s Ghana has now fallen - whose short-term thinking makes them think that making money (regardless of the negative societal and environmental implications!) is everything: as long as it boosts our GDP.
How can any regime that cared about the health of its citizens possibly think about importing waste from outside its borders? Is this not an egregious example of unacceptable risk-taking?
Why imperil the natural environment as well as risk the health of ordinary people so needlessly - by going into a deal that depends solely on the goodwill and honesty of foreigners (who probably can't believe their luck!): who might, or might not be, profiting from exporting waste considered too dangerous to store in their own home countries?
Why, did Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah not hear of the tragedy that befell the Ivory Coast not too long ago - when many innocent Ivorian citizens were killed because they came into contact with toxic waste dumped there by a group of selfish and greedy individuals: who allowed it to be dumped there, because they benefitted from that outrage personally?
Is it the case, perhaps, that there are also such callous and greedy individuals doing the same thing here too - because they too will be benefitting financially from this monstrous, foolish and shortsighted decision?
Does Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah not see that this nation is literally drowning in filth? Is there not enough waste generated in our country to feed the said plant? Could waste from Accra (which apparently finds it difficult to find landfill sites!), and elsewhere from this country that abounds in mega-filth, not be put into 40ft containers and loaded unto freight trains and trucks to be sent to Kumasi to feed the confounded plant? Why take such an unnecessary risk by importing waste from elsewhere?
Can this quintessence of the naïve and ignorant African politician tell us precisely what kind of advanced emission-control design the plant has? Can he assure the residents of Kumasi that they are amongst the most modern and technically up-to date in the world - and that they will not be exposed to dioxin and furan, under any circumstances: both of which many consider serious health hazards?
Will he also tell us what stringent new and world-class environmental regulations (comparable to that in nations like Canada and Germany for similar municipal incineration plants!), which our woefully under-resourced environmental protection agency (EPA) has put into place - to ensure that dioxin and furan are never ever emitted by that plant to endanger the health of the inhabitants of our second city?
Finally, is he also aware of the fact that a number of EU medical associations (which also included cross-discipline experts such as toxicologists and environmental chemists) which together represent over 30,000 doctors throughout the EU, expressed their concerns about incinerator particle emissions - and the absence of specific fine and ultrafine particle-size monitoring or in-depth industry and government epidemiological studies of those minute and invisible incinerator particle-size emissions, to the European Parliament, as recently as June 2008?
Hmmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: enti yeawiaye paa, enia? Asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!