Development of Solid Waste Management System

3548 words (14 pages) Essay in Environmental Studies

23/09/19 Environmental Studies Reference this

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Module: Urban Environmental Planning and Management in Development

FOREWORD

The President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo announced government’s budgetary commitment of GH¢200 million to address waste management in Accra in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).[1] This is part of the President’s broad agenda to make Accra the ‘cleanest city in Africa’.[2] Following this, the newly appointed Mayor of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) engaged private consultant Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) to conduct an environmental assessment of the city to help address the waste problem.

This Accra City Profile is the final work the consultant submitted to the Mayor. First, it draws on the history of urbanisation in Accra to understand the complex development of the problem. Second, it provides an analysis of the current situation and the impacts. Lastly, the report highlights what social, economic, political and institutional factors underline and contribute to the solid waste problem.

STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT

The consultant engaged experts and organisations in the waste management sector to prepare this report. It was discussed that though waste can be classified into different types, the problem in Accra hinges on municipal solid waste management (MSWM). A recent World Bank brief indicates that solid waste in developing and low-income countries is poorly managed, with 90% of waste not properly disposed and regulated.[3] The Ghana 2010 Population and Housing Census report on solid waste disposal in Accra supports this finding; it reveals that 40.6% of solid waste is either buried, burned or dumped indiscriminately in open spaces.[4] Hence the report will focus on poor solid waste management as the main environmental problem.

The document is divided into 5 main sections: Background; Historical Development of the Solid Waste Problem in Accra; Current Status and Impacts of the Problem; Factors Underlining Poor Solid Waste Management; and Conclusion.

 

 

1.0 BACKGROUND

McGranaham and Satterthwaite note that when population growth rates are high, a shift of population to urban centers is likely.[5] More than half of Ghana’s population lives in urban[6] areas. With a population of approximately 4.3 million, the Greater Accra Region where Accra city is found is a rapidly urbanising center. The share of the proportion of urban population has increased from 72.6% to 90.5% from 1970-2010.[7]

Accompanying this trend is the rise in municipal solid waste generation in the city.  Accra implements the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) scheme to collect and dump waste at landfills. However, households continue to dump solid waste at illegal dumpsites, into drains and on the streets. [8] An evaluation of the historical development of Accra is critical to a thorough understanding of the solid waste problem.

 

2.0 HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Accra’s emergence as an urban center in 1877 inaugurated extensive spatial arrangement.  The colonial capital of Ghana (then Gold Coast) was moved from Cape Coast to Accra primarily to protect Europeans from native-borne diseases. The 1862 earthquake in the city gave additional impetus to reorganise Accra.[9] This was done in two ways.

First, the colonial government established a port with warehouses at the coast to link the local economy to that of England. Close to the port was the Central Business District (CBD) where the head offices of European companies and financial institutions involved in trade at the port were situated. Second, strict zoning and building codes were used to demarcate a district nearly known as the “native town” from the CBD and European residential areas found on higher elevations in Accra.[10]

 Figure 2: A map ofcolonial Accra[11]                                                           Figure 3: Location of Accra in Ghana

The native town, which accommodated the local community and their traditional market, was neglected by the colonial urban planners— poor housing structures emerged, and sanitation, drainage, sewage and solid waste management infrastructure and services were not provided.[12] When Ghana gained independence in 1957, this situation was left unaddressed by the post-colonial national government.

2.1 The situation after independence

Though the national government took control of the CBD and luxurious European residential areas, they were reserved for the entrepreneurial elite and those with political influence and connections. The native citizens were still confined to the high density unplanned areas with unhealthy conditions. Places like Nima and Sabon Zongo adsorbed most of the informal migrant settlers seeking employment opportunities in Accra, and became noticed as slum communities.[13] On the other hand, Makola market, the biggest traditional market in the native town expanded beyond the district and created congestion as small local businesses moved in.[14] This exerted pressure on the already poor solid waste management system.

In the 1980s, Ghana implemented the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) by the World Bank and IMF, which also had a negative impact on solid waste management system. The liberalisation programs raised the cost of housing in Accra and confided people living in poor areas to congested housing with lack of basic sanitation, drainage and solid waste management services and infrastructure.[15] Most importantly during, the SAPs introduced the direct fee charging for solid waste collection in Accra and most low-income and informal communities couldn’t afford to pay.[16] This situation currently prevails.

 

3.0 CURRENT STATUS OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN ACCRA

3.1 Waste generation and collection in Accra

It is estimated that the city of Accra generates 2,500 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day.[17] The per capita waste generation in the city per day is 0.5 kilograms. Solid waste from domestic sources in Accra constitutes 47% of the total output of waste. The rest are from commercial (31%) activities in the open markets and streets, institutional solid waste (13%) and those from industries (6%) and others (3%).[18]

 

Private waste collection companies collect waste in different localities demarcated as zones. In high-income residential areas they charge fees to collect, while in low-income localities, households dislodge their waste into containers, which are then carried and disposed at dumpsites.[19] Waste collection firms collect 59.4% of waste generated for dumping at landfills. However, most of the household waste is improperly dispose off; 35.9% is dumped in containers and at open spaces, 1.1% indiscriminately in streets and drains, while 3% is burned and buried.[20]

Figure 4. Household Municipal Solid Waste Generation and Collection Projections for Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (2016-2025). Source: Africa Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management (AISWAM)- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

3.2 Impacts of the Problem

 

3.2.1 Annual flooding in Accra

The poor solid waste management in Accra contributes to other factors such as “uncovered, undersized, unconnected and improperly channeled”[21] drains to increase the risk of flooding in the city. Waste improperly collected and disposed clogs gutters and drainage systems in the city to impede the flow of water into the sea during rainy seasons. The Odaw River is a water body that flows through central Accra and discharges into the Korle Lagoon, which then empties water from the city into the sea (Gulf of Guinea). The dumping of waste into these water bodies has made them shallow and stagnant thereby overflowing during heavy downpours to cause annual flooding incidents with heavy loss of lives and properties.[22]

The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) indicates that within the 12-year period of 2002-2012, 83 people in Greater Accra died from flood disasters, 178,750 were displaced and the cost of losses and damage was estimated at US$43.7 million.[23] In June 2015, over 150 people died and thousands displaced from a flood disaster that occurred close to the Odaw River and triggered an explosion at a nearby gas station.[24]

Figure 5: A photo of Odaw River chocked with solid waste materials. Source: Getty images

3.2.2 Cholera outbreaks in Accra

Another impact of solid waste is cholera outbreaks in the wet season. According to UNICEF Cholera Epidemiology and Response Factsheet, the city recorded 27, 953 cases of cholera with 120 deaths between 1998-2013.[25] This annual trend has been partly blamed on the indiscriminately and improper dumping and disposal of solid waste; overflowing waste containers, open defecation in choked drains and the contamination of drinking water and food by waste materials.[26] The socio-economic, political and institutional factors that underline and contribute to the problem and cascading impacts have to be understood.

 

4.0 FACTORS UNDERLINING POOR SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN ACCRA

 

4.1 Socio-economic factors

Migration of people with no or less employable skills from rural centers to the city has contributed to a high rate of unemployment.[27] This has also increased the population of low-income households in informal settlements in places like Old Fadama, Nima, New Town, Alajo, etc. It is easy to see waste overflowing containers in these communities and spilling over into the streets and drains. The economic situation of these poor households makes it difficult for them to purchase the appropriate waste bins and afford the fees charged by private waste collection firms.

Another important social factor is the perception and attitude of people in low-income areas towards waste. People’s consumption patterns, the amount of waste they generate and their willingness to dispose waste properly are influenced by the level of their awareness, education and knowledge about the impact of poor waste disposal practices on health and wellbeing.[28] For example a research conducted in the Greater Accra Region by the Institute of Professional Studies in Accra revealed that a greater percentage of respondents who cover their waste generated at the household level were likely to have some level of education.[29]

 

4.2 Political and institutional factors

The AMA is responsible for addressing its waste management challenges. However, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development performs oversight duties over the AMA, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) serving as an advisory institution to the Ministry. The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) on the other hand is also responsible for policy formulation on environmental issues. This situation is problematic—environmental regulations and policies are congregated under different Ministries with fragmentation and replication of functions and less coordination between actors.[30]

The Assembly is also crippled by financial constraints and the lack of adequate waste facilities and logistics to implement a proper waste disposal and management system. The AMA currently owes private firms who collect waste in Accra and has failed to pay them over the past years.[31]

5.0 CONCLUSION

The problem of solid waste management in the city of Accra is a complex phenomenon that has to be understood from more than a single viewpoint. The spatial rearrangement of Accra played a major role in shaping the problem. However, failure of successive governments to address it complicated the situation. With the President Nana Akufo-Addo’s public commitment to support the new Accra Mayor to address it, there is an urgent need to renew efforts and bring all stakeholders on board to chart a course towards sustainable solutions.

 

6.0 BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Accra Metropolitan Assembly, 2014, Work plan for implementing solid waste management strategies, available from http://www.waste.ccacoalition.org/sites/default/files/files/accra_usepa_ccac_workplan_february2014_0.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.
  • African Urbanism, Accra’s June 3 Floods: Looking Back to Move Forward, available from http://africanurbanism.net/accra-floods-2015/, Accessed 18 November 2018.
  • Agyei, Agyepong Kwabena. 2018, Waste Management Options in Ghana, Future Strategy, available from https://imaniafrica.org/2018/04/12/waste-management-options-ghana-future-strategy/, Accessed 23 November 2018.
  • Amoako, Clifford and Boamah, Frimpong E. (2015) ‘Three-dimensional causes of flooding in Accra, Ghana’, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 109-129.
  • Anaman, Kwabena Asomanin and Nyadzi, Bernice Worlanyo. (2015) ‘Analysis of Improper Disposal of Solid Wastes in a Low-Income Area of Accra, Ghana’, Journal of Applied Economics and Finance, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 66-75.
  • Andersson, Helene. 2016, Colonial urban legacies: analysis of socio-spatial structures in Accra, Ghana, available from https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1073546/FULLTEXT01.pdf, Accessed 24 November 2018.
  • Aziale, Kwami Lawrence and Asafo-Adjey, Ellen. (2013) ‘Logistic Challenges in Urban Waste Management in Ghana (A case of Tema Metropolitan Assembly)’, European Journal of Business and Management, Vol. 5, No. 32, pp. 116-129.
  • Azumah, Oswald, K. 2018, SONA2018: Gov’t will spend GH¢200m on sanitation in 2018-Akufo-Addo, available from https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/february-8th/sona2018-govt-will-spend gh200m-on-sanitation-in-2018-akufo-addo.php, Accessed 23 November 2018.
  • Baabereyir, Anthony. 2009, Urban environmental problems in Ghana: a case study of social and environmental injustice in solid waste management in Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
  • Boadi, Kwasi Owusu and Kuitunen, Markku. (2003) ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management in the Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana’, The Environmentalist, 23, pp. 211-218.
  • Callistus, Tengan and Aigbavboa, Ohis Clinton. 2016, Addressing flood challenges in Ghana: The case of the Accra Metropolis, Paper presentation at the International Conference of Infrastructure Development in Africa (ICIDA).
  • Ghana Health Service, 2014, Report of Cholera Outbreak Investigation, Greater Accra Region, June-August 2014.
  • Grant, R. and Yankson, P. (2003) ‘City profile’, Journal of Cities, Vol. 20. No. 1, pp. 65-74.
  • McGranaham Gordon, Satterthwaite David. 2014, Urbanisation concepts and trends. IIED Working Paper. IIED, London.
  • Oduro-Kwarteng, Sampson and van Dijk, Pieter Meine. (2013) ‘Performance by private companies involved in urban solid waste management: Evidence from three cities in Ghana’, Waste Management and Research 31 (10) Supplement 81-92.
  • The World Bank, 2018, Solid Waste Management, available from http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/urbandevelopment/brief/solid-waste-management, Accessed 10 November 2018.
  • UN HABITAT Regional and Technical Cooperation Division, 2009, Ghana: Accra Urban Profile.
  • UNDP/UNCHS/World Bank, 1996, Conceptual Framework for Municipal Solid Waste Management in Low-Income Countries, Working paper No. 9.
  • UNICEF, Cholera Epidemiology and Response Factsheet Ghana, available from https://www.plateformecholera.info/attachments/article/221/UNICEF-Factsheet-Ghana-EN-FINAL.pdf, Accessed 20 November 2018.
  • Victor Kwawukume, Victor. 2017, I’ll make Accra cleanest city in Africa-President, available from https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/i-ll-make-accra-cleanest-city-in-africa-president.html, Accessed 23 November 2018.
  • 2010 Population & Housing Census District Analytical Report, 2014, Accra Metropolitan, available from http://www.statsghana.gov.gh/docfiles/2010_District_Report/Greater%20Accra/AMA.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[1] Oswald K. Azumah, 2018, SONA2018: Gov’t will spend GH¢200m on sanitation in 2018-Akufo-Addo, available from https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/february-8th/sona2018-govt-will-spend gh200m-on-sanitation-in-2018-akufo-addo.php, Accessed 23 November 2018.

[2] Victor Kwawukume, 2017, I’ll make Accra cleanest city in Africa-President, available from https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/i-ll-make-accra-cleanest-city-in-africa-president.html, Accessed 23 November 2018.

[3] The World Bank, 2018, Solid Waste Management, available from http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/urbandevelopment/brief/solid-waste-management, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[4] 2010 Population & Housing Census District Analytical Report, 2014, Accra Metropolitan, available from http://www.statsghana.gov.gh/docfiles/2010_District_Report/Greater%20Accra/AMA.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[5] Gordon McGranaham & David Satterthwaite, 2014, Urbanisation concepts and trends. IIED Working Paper. IIED, London.

[6] According to the Ghana Statistical Service, population size is used to classify a locality as rural or urban in Ghana. Localities are classified as urban when they have a population of 5,000 or more.

[7] 2010 Population & Housing Census District Analytical Report, 2014, Accra Metropolitan, available from http://www.statsghana.gov.gh/docfiles/2010_District_Report/Greater%20Accra/AMA.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[8] Accra Metropolitan Assembly, 2014, Work plan for implementing solid waste management strategies, available from http://www.waste.ccacoalition.org/sites/default/files/files/accra_usepa_ccac_workplan_february2014_0.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[9] R. Grant and P. Yankson. (2003) ‘City profile’, Journal of Cities, Vol. 20. No. 1, pp. 65-74.

[10] ibid

[11] Source: R. Grant and P. Yankson. (2003) ‘City profile’, Cities, Vol. 20. No. 1, pp. 65-74.

[12] ibid

[13] Helene Andersson, 2016, Colonial urban legacies: analysis of socio-spatial structures in Accra, Ghana, available from https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1073546/FULLTEXT01.pdf, Accessed 24 November 2018.

[14] R. Grant and P. Yankson. (2003) ‘City profile’, Cities, Vol. 20. No. 1, pp. 65-74.

[15] ibid

[16] Kwabena Asomanin Anaman et al. (2015) ‘Analysis of Improper Disposal of Solid Wastes in a Low-Income Area of Accra, Ghana’, Journal of Applied Economics and Finance, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 66-75.

[17] Accra Metropolitan Assembly, 2014, Work plan for implementing solid waste management strategies, available from http://www.waste.ccacoalition.org/sites/default/files/files/accra_usepa_ccac_workplan_february2014_0.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[18] Anthony Baabereyir, 2009, Urban environmental problems in Ghana: a case study of social and environmental injustice in solid waste management in Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[19] UN HABITAT Regional and Technical Cooperation Division, 2009, Ghana: Accra Urban Profile.

[20]2010 Population & Housing Census District Analytical Report, 2014, Accra Metropolitan, available from http://www.statsghana.gov.gh/docfiles/2010_District_Report/Greater%20Accra/AMA.pdf, Accessed 10 November 2018.

[21] African Urbanism, Accra’s June 3 Floods: Looking Back to Move Forward, available from http://africanurbanism.net/accra-floods-2015/, Accessed 18 November 2018.

[22] Kwasi Owusu Boadi et al. (2003) ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management in the Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana’, The Environmentalist, 23, pp. 211-218.

[23] Clifford Amoako et al. (2015) ‘Three-dimensional causes of flooding in Accra, Ghana’, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 109-129.

[24] Callistus Tengan et al.  2016, Addressing flood challenges in Ghana: The case of the Accra Metropolis, Paper presentation at the International Conference of Infrastructure Development in Africa (ICIDA).

[25] UNICEF, Cholera Epidemiology and Response Factsheet Ghana, available from https://www.plateformecholera.info/attachments/article/221/UNICEF-Factsheet-Ghana-EN-FINAL.pdf, Accessed 20 November 2018.

[26] Ghana Health Service, 2014, Report of Cholera Outbreak Investigation, Greater Accra Region, June-August 2014.

[27] Lawrence Kwami Aziale, et al. (2013) ‘Logistic Challenges in Urban Waste Management in Ghana (A case of Tema Metropolitan Assembly)’, European Journal of Business and Management, Vol. 5, No. 32, pp. 116-129.

[28] UNDP/UNCHS/World Bank, 1996, Conceptual Framework for Municipal Solid Waste Management in Low-Income Countries, Working paper No. 9.

[29] Lawrence Kwami Aziale, et al. (2013) ‘Logistic Challenges in Urban Waste Management in Ghana (A case of Tema Metropolitan Assembly)’, European Journal of Business and Management, Vol. 5, No. 32, pp. 116-129.

[30] Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, 2018, Waste Management Options in Ghana, Future Strategy, available from https://imaniafrica.org/2018/04/12/waste-management-options-ghana-future-strategy/, Accessed 23 November 2018.

[31] Sampson Oduro-Kwarteng et al. (2013) ‘Performance by private companies involved in urban solid waste management: Evidence from three cities in Ghana’, Waste Management and Research 31 (10) Supplement 81-92.

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