A Ghanaian company, Dredge Masters Ghana Limited, in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Housing, has introduced the latest dredging technology to help reduce the perennial flooding situation in Accra.
The dredgers, known as the Amphibious Dredgers Water Master Classic V, are specially built for shallow dredging.
Apart from dredging, the two machines can also perform multiple functions such as hammering, piling, raking and excavating, tasks that would have required separate machines to undertake.
The machines reach 900 cubic metres per hour pumping output, 50 per cent more efficient than the previous technology.
At the commissioning ceremony of the two dredgers, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, commended the Zoomlion Group, the parent company of Dredge Masters, for continuously working to ensure decent environment for the country even though the government owed it for unpaid works.
He said the company came to the rescue of the ministry at a time it was battling with the Accra sewage project and had since been dredging the Korle Lagoon and the Odaw River, a task he said would allow for the free flow of rainwater and prevent floods in the city.
Mr Atta Akyea announced that Cabinet had approved a $200-million World Bank facility which would be used to help solve the Odaw challenges and described it as “a major relief to the country”.
In 2018, he said, the highest financial injection from the government went into desilting to help contain the flooding situation in the country, with an extra budget allocation of GH¢200 million.
"It’s sad that huge sums of money are spent on this challenge because of our culture of waste management. Some people have been emboldened to throw every waste they hate into open drain," he said.
The ministry, Mr Atta Akyea said, was advocating a subterranean drainage system to replace the existing open drain system, which allowed people to dump waste in the drains.
Though it would be capital intensive, he said the government might consider going to the capital market to raise funds for that.
"What is filthy should not be seen. But the thing is we get money to desilt the drains and people dump waste, they get choked, we get money again, desilt, and people fill the drains again and it goes on. We should bring this to an end if we go subterranean," he said.
The Managing Director of Dredge Masters, Mr Captain Khan, said the amphibious dredgers used the latest generation of cutting-edge technology, good for shallow water dredging.
"It is six machines combined into one, which is very versatile for shallow water dredging,” he said.
Mr Khan said the company had acquired the latest dredgers to augment the company's capacity to control floods and ultimately save lives lost to floods.
Dredge Masters, he said, was established in 2015 after the unfortunate twin disaster incident of June 3 which resulted in the loss of more than 120 lives.
The company, he said, offered sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions for flood control, urbain drainage, in-land dredging and coastal defence solution.
Flooding, he said, was a natural phenomenon and appealed to the public, especially people who lived close to water bodies, to desist from dumping waste in them.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Mohammed Adlei Sowah, said the work of the Dredge Masters was part of the programme to keep the city clean and resilient.
He observed that although it had been raining for days in the city of late, there had not been any record of floods for the past two months because of the continuous dredging of the Korle Lagoon.
Also, he said, the city authorities had been working on preventing solid waste from entering the Korle Lagoon and had also provided bins in homes and encouraged informal sector waste collectors and big companies to collect waste and deposit at designated points.