Garbage at dumpsite in Sepe-Buokrom

The Sepe-Buokrom dumpsite, in the Manhyia North constituency in the Ashanti region, one of the oldest and largest dumpsites in the Kumasi metropolis, has undoubtedly become an obvious health hazard in the fast-growing residential area. The site, believed to have started in the late 1990s, is currently the recipient of tonnes of waste generated in many parts of the capital. The dumpsite, approximately the size of three football park is covered with a mountain of solid waste reaching into the sky. cloud of thick smoke hangs over the entire community resulting from the constant burning going on at the site. That is not the only problem, a stream of poisonous liquid waste leaches from the mountain of refuse, seeping into homes of the angry and frustrated residents.

A visit of the site by Silver FM’s Akwadaa Nyame revealed that poorly equipped personnel tasked to manage the facility were on site taking money from those who came to throw out their refuse. Yet nothing much is going on to address the state of the site.

Unbearable smoke and stench

Attempts to speak with the assembly member in the area Hon Joseph Agyapong aka “wobewu” proved futile but some of the residents, including Maa Mary, who has her house very close to the dumpsite, lamented the situation is an eyesore. Maa Mary who has been there for all her life said the refuse site has been very unbearable due to the smoke and stench. Due to this, she has not been able to live in relative comfort and is contemplating relocating. Sister Ataa, another resident whose house is just about ten metres away from the dumpsite, did not mince words in saying the situation is “very bad.” She revealed to this reporter that residents “went to a meeting in order to close this [refuse dumpsite] down but all attempts that have been made has failed. Commenting on the effects the site has on the residents, she said “The odour is too pungent. Very pungent, you can’t even breathe here especially when the bulldoze it.”

Image of Sepe-Buokrom dumpsite in Ghana

Health risks

There currently is a cholera outbreak in the in this community killing several people, especially children. The pandemic is related to unsanitary conditions occasioned by open drains and poor management of liquid waste. Sister Ataa insisted the dumpsite is disturbing the community but doubted if something will be done about the situation by the waste manager at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly. Mr Edward Owusu, another resident lives about 20 metres away from the dumpsite said he has suffered hard complications because of the fumes from the dumpsite: I’ve got a heart attack because of the smoke. I went to the hospital to check and they said I should go and do endoscopic [tests]. At times I get heartburns,” he said. nevertheless, he urged authorities to consider the cries and pleas of residents and do something about the situation.

The author and photographer of this story is Akwadaa Nyame (Silver FM). The reason for publishing this story is to inform readers about the conditions and risks of dumpsites on the local level. Since this is a website for local news and community development in the rural area of Ghana, it fits the scope of communitywatchdoggh.com.

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