Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the loan request because this is a project that dates back to the 1960s. Unfortunately, it was terminated after the 1966 coup. The project was then being done by an Israeli Company - the dredging of the Old Fadama area.
Mr. Speaker, I was very happy when the project started again around the mid- 1990s but then the project ran into difficulty when it came to the resettlement of the Sodom and Gomorrah people.
I am surprised my hon. Friend, hon. Asiamah is trying to politicize the issue. He is too young. I happened to be the Chairman of the sub-committee for the relocation of Sodom and Gomorrah in the year 2000. Initially, they tried to induce settlers with cash for them to move voluntarily. It did not work because some of the issues that hon. Asiamah is raising were raised by certain politicians in the year 2000, trying to let the people not to move. But in politics, it is a double-edged knife - it cuts both ways and he must stop making such statements because it does not help.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy that eventually the settlers have agreed to move and some money has been found to resettle them.
The Korle Lagoon is a very important water body in the city and anyone who travels to Europe, well advanced countries, will know that any river or lagoon that flows within the city is clean. It is used for recreational purposes. In our case, the lagoon is used as a dumping ground for refuse, to the extent that the aquatic life in the lagoon is dead and the biodiversity is almost extinct.
I have read through the report and I do not know whether the project covers the timber market area because it forms part of the reclamation process. You cannot
move Sodom and Gomorrah and leave the timber market. You have not completed the project. This is a long standing project.
Anybody who looks at the master plan will know that at one time a lake in the form of Africa was to be constructed in the area purely for recreational purposes and I hope that those who are handling the project will do so to its logical conclusion so that the stench and the filth that have engulfed the centre of Accra will be a thing of the past.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words I support the motion.
Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment (Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko): Mr. Speaker, in supporting the motion, I will like to touch briefly on one of the objectives of the loan, that is for improvement of sanitation.
Mr. Speaker, I would want all of us to accept the reality that, no matter the amount of loans, no matter the amount of infrastructure we put in place to address issues on sanitation, if people are not prepared to change their ways all these will come to naught.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the stench and the fact that the oxygen level in the lagoon is so low that organic pollutants within the lagoon cannot even dissolve. Mr. Speaker, we are the cause of this issue. You might find within such areas provision of toilets but people refuse to use them. I will therefore want to urge that in the implementation of the programme, education becomes part of it so that people are well educated, well informed as to how we should manage our waste, whether solid or liquid. Ghanaians should learn to change their attitude or we
should learn to change our attitude as to how we dispose of our waste.
Mr. Speaker, the other issue is on the relocation. I would also want to urge at this point that, people who will be in-charge of the implementation, will recognize the position of the Municipal Assembly because the Municipal Assembly is the highest planning authority.
We should also guard against the springing up of urban slums in these areas so that we do not go back and then tackle the problem again when we have resettled them. If we resettle these people and the Assembly is not involved and we do not constantly monitor the growth of that settlement, eventually, we will end up with another urban slum which we want to avoid.
Mr. Speaker, this project is very important because as the hon. Member who spoke last said, in most advanced countries, property around water areas are very expensive but unfortunately, that is not the same with Ghana. We use water courses and land around water areas for all sorts of unimaginable things. We can use this waterway to supplement even transportation in our city because if we keep it clean and water can flow and the stench is also out, it can also be used for water and lake transportation.
Mr. Speaker, with these few remarks, I support the motion and urge all colleagues to do same.