Findings from a study commissioned by the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project into Solid Waste Management in low-income communities in Accra have revealed that the Informal Waste Sector workers collect 51% of waste in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).

This was made known during a high-level workshop organized by the GARID Project’s Implementing Unit at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) for Municipal Chief Executives and other key players in the Solid Waste Management Sector in the Greater Accra Region.

Presenting the findings of the Study, Dr. Oduro Appiah, an official from the consortium that carried out the study (TREND and URBA Consulting),  said out of the Four Thousand and Fifteen (4,015) tons of solid waste generated in GAMA per day, the formal sector comprising the waste management companies operating in Accra, collect One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty-three (1,543) tons representing 48% whiles informal waste collectors, waste pickers and recyclers collect One Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-nine (1,549) representing 51%, with the  remaining one percent being collected by some of the Municipalities themselves.  

The study also points to the huge employment opportunities the Informal Waste Sector created for some residents in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area. Dr. Appiah said the sachet water plastic industry alone generates over 5000 jobs.  According to Dr. Appiah, “There are an estimated 600 sachet water plastics (HDPE) buyers who purchase and sell an average of 400 kg per day. The activities of these actors are complemented by about 65 enterprises of intermediate buyers, recyclers and innovators who are turning recyclable materials into new products creating more than 5000 livelihoods through employment”

Based on the important contributions of the informal Waste Sector identified in the study, it was recommended that the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) and the GARID Project take steps to formalize the activities of the Informal Waste Sector workers to help improve solid waste collection in low-income communities in the Odaw River catchment.

The Solid Waste Management Specialist for the GARID Project, Henrietta Osei-Tutu, said the Ministry and the GARID Project have started engaging the Informal Waste Sector (IWS) actors on possible areas of collaboration between the Ministry and the informal waste workers. She disclosed that the GARID Project had already organized two separate training workshops – one   on sustainable livelihoods and collective organization, and the other on occupational health and safety for the Informal Waste Sector(IWS) workers. She indicated that the Ministry and the Project will continue to work and guide the IWS to form cooperatives and support them with equipment that can help improve their works.

The study is part of the initiatives of the MSWR and the GARID Project to develop a results-based financing strategy to prevent littering and improve solid waste collection within low- income communities along the Odaw River catchment.

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