By Nana Ama Omari
Members of the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODE) have toured the Adjen Kotoku Onion Market in the Ga West Municipality to assess the sanitation condition there.
The tour supported by World Vision, Ghana, was to create an opportunity for members of M-CODE to engage policymakers on how to make the area conducive to sustain business activities.
The Onion traders were relocated about a year ago from the Agbogbloshie market as part of the decongestion of Accra.
During the tour, Secretary of the Onion Sellers and Importers Association, Osman Mohammed Sidi, told the media that only an eight-seater toilet facility is currently serving more than three thousand traders, a situation that creates an inconvenience.
He expressed fears that with no improvement in the situation the traders might be compelled to go back to the Agbogbloshie market for better trading conditions.
GBC’s Nana Ama Omari reports that when the news team got to Adjen Kotoku Onion market in the Ga West Municipality, they were met with a strong stench emanating from rotten onions all over the place.
The group saw a solid waste container full to the brim with more waste, mostly rotten onions on the ground. Close to this container were some women sorting out good onions from the rotten ones.
Some traders were seen seated under sheds, while others who did not have the luxury of the sheds sold their onions under the scorching sun at the mercy of the weather.
As the news team proceeded to the middle of the market, a Zoomlion Waste truck from the Assembly had come to lift the waste container which was full and had been left for more than a week.
Addressing the news team, Secretary of the Onion Sellers and Importer Association, Osman Mohammed Sidi bemoaned the inadequate toilet facilities, solid waste containers, sheds, bad road networks and delays in emptying the waste containers, describing the situation as “unhealthy, making life unbearable and business transactions unattractive for his people”.
He added: “the Mobile toilets provided by the Assembly were not serviced after usage for almost three months”. This he said discouraged the sellers from using the facility which has since been abandoned.
When approached to confirm what Mr. Sidi said, driver of the Waste Management truck, Justice Adzenyo gave some reasons for the delay in emptying the containers. In the course of his explanation, he had an argument with Mr. Sidi over the facts.
Speaking in Twi some onion sellers called on the government to come to their aid and fix the deplorable road network which is hampering trading activities at the market. They bemoaned the high cost of food items attributing it to the increase in fuel prices and the depreciation of the cedi against the CFA which is the currency they use to purchase the onions from neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso and Niger. They called for the construction of more sheds and places of convenience.
Convener for M-CODE, Francis Ameyibor made some observations about what the team saw and the need for duty bearers to expedite action on improving the sanitation situation and other logistical challenges of the Onion Sellers.
The field trip supported by World Vision-Ghana seeks to sustain the campaign for the authorities to prioritise the provision of the needed sanitation facilities, especially at market places to discourage Open defecation.
The M-CODE institutional members include the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GNA, Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times, Ghana WASH Journalists Network and Kings Hall Media.