GEMA partners GAYO, others to improve waste management, formalizes informal waste collection: Borla Taxis, "Aboboya" to reduce expenditure

By Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman

The Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Abokobi, has partnered the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO), its allied institutions including the Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS) of the University of Ghana to formalize the operations of the informal waste collectors in the municipality. 

The move forms part of the  efforts by the Assembly to rid off the municipality of filth and also help in realizing the vision of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to make "Accra the Cleanest City in Africa".

The Ga East Municipality generates over 200 tons of waste daily and about 73,000 tons yearly, with 55 percent collected by the formal waste collectors, (contractors) including Zoomlion and it's sub-contractors, while 45 percent is collected by the informal, Borla Taxis and Tricycles, popularly referred to as "Aboboya".

Though previously their activities were not regulated, these informal waste collectors contribute immensely towards waste management in the Municipality as they are able to maneuver and collect from areas the compacters (waste trucks) of the formal waste collectors (companies) are unable to go.

To ensure their activities are recognized and formalized and ensure proper waste collection, eliminate conflict between them and the "big" formal waste contractors, and acceptability among the people, the Assembly began an exercise to register all Aboboya operators in the Municipality which resulted in the registration of 150 operators.

It is in advancement of this cause that the Assembly welcomed the partnership with the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO), Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS) of the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, to engage the various stakeholders in the sector, including the Borla Taxis and Tricycles operators.

On Thursday, 29th April, 2021, at the Abokobi Presby Women's Centre,, GAYO led in the organization of a stakeholders forum through the LIRA-CSOs engagement platform, to discuss the informal waste collection sector and how they could be synchronized and integrated into mainstream, formal waste collection sector.

The engagement, under the theme, "Cleaning from the bottom up - Inclusive Stakeholder Participation for Integrated Waste Management in Africa", was attended by the various stakeholders, including the Aboboya operators, CSOs in the Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) sector, and officers from the Assembly, as well as the Assembly Member for Abokobi, Hon. Moses Ola Dowuona.

The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly, Hon. Janet Tulasi Mensah, in a speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Director, Mr. Kenneth Daniels, commended the informal waste operators for their efforts towards improving waste management in the Municipality.

She said that formalizing them will help keep an eye on them and ensure that their operations are managed to the benefit of all and contribute to the revenue-base of the Assembly.

"By formalizing their operations, we will be able to gather data-based information about all stakeholders to identify illegal operators as we strive to increase our waste collection coverage to eliminate the illegal dumping of refuse in our municipality", she acknowledged.

The Hon. MCE lauded GAYO and its partners and the IESS for this initiative and pledged the support of the Assembly in this direction.


"This project has a social dimension in recognizing those engaged in the small-scale Aboboya. The Assembly therefore fully support this initiative which aims to formalize and recognize the efforts of Aboboya operators and help us to monitor them", she noted.

The Municipal Environmental Health Officer (MEHO), Mr. Charles Ampomah Asabre, mentioned that the programme was crucial as efforts were being made to ensure the municipality is clean. 

He said there about 500 Borla Taxis and Tricycles operators in the Municipality and the Assembly was taking the right steps to register and bring them into the Association.

The representative of Professor Kwasi Appianing Addo, Director for IESS, Dr. Ted Yemoh, a Senior Research Fellow, stated that the IESS is passionate about enhancing environmental protection and management. 

He also mentioned that the informal sector has a crucial role to play and as such, collectors should be advocates and encourage separation of waste at the household level. 

Dr. Dzidzor Yirenkyi Tawiah, a Senior Research Fellow at the IESS, on her part said the move to formalize the operations of the informal waste collectors is in the right direction as there are a lot of negative consequences in the discharge of their duties. 

She also mentioned that the relationship between the Assembly, GAYO and the IESS will be a model for other Assemblies to follow.

On his part, the Presiding Member (PM), Hon. Jesse Nii Noi Anum, congratulated and advised them to respect each other and do a good work to keep the Municipality clean. 

The Project Coordinator of GAYO, Ms. Betty Osei Bonsu, expressed gratitude to the Assembly for accepting to partner the LIRA-CSOs engagement platform to realize this initiative.

She said her outfit will continue to monitor their operations and provide the needed support in various aspects of their work to ensure that they operate in a congenial, safe and healthy conditions.

The programme was also used to inaugurate the Ga East Municipal branch of the Borla Taxis and Tricycles Association (BTTA), the first of its kind in the Greater Accra Region, and presented with the registered certificate from the Assembly through the Head of Cooperatives, Madam Tabitha Kabey.

The Assembly, GAYO and its allies presented various branded PPEs, including reflector jackets, gloves and nosemasks, to the members of the BTTA and encouraged them to deliver professional and clean services to the people.

The Association expressed their appreciation to the Assembly, GAYO and the other stakeholders for their support.

Other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which participated in the engagement and pledged their support for the initiative included Coliba, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement, Rescue Mission, Sesa Recycling, Africa Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development, Precious Feet International, and Window of Change.

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