A study conducted by the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project into solid waste management in low-income communities in Accra has revealed that more than half (54%) of the waste generated in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) is organic.
Explaining the detailed composition of waste in the Municipalities, Dr. Oduro Appiah, a representative of the consultant, TREND-URBA Consulting, said besides organic waste, plastics constitute close to one-fifth (16%) of the waste generated in Accra. He further explained that over one-eighth (13%) of Accra’s waste is inorganic with aluminum being the least waste generated (0.3%) in the city.
Dr. Appiah expressed concerns over the composition of waste in the national capital stressing that, “…the higher organic content of the waste in the Municipalities suggests higher Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions with its associated environmental and health effects on the residents of Accra”.
The study also found that each person in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area was generating an average of 0.40 kg of waste with the waste generation rates being higher on weekends than on weekdays.
To reduce incidence of littering, improve solid waste management and ultimately reduce the effects of the GHG emission in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), the study recommended, among others, the eradication of community skip containers due to insanitary conditions observed at all container sites. In place of the skip containers, it was recommended that the affected areas are rezoned for collection by informal waste containers popularly known as Aboboyaa. This, the study believes, will help reduce the chances of the waste finding their ways into drains and causing flooding whenever it rains.
The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) and the GARID Project were urged to formalize the activities of the informal waste sector workers and support them to improve solid waste management along the Odaw river basin. The study also recommended the institution of “the Cleanest Municipality Award” to motivate Municipalities to put in more efforts in managing their wastes.
The study was part of the processes involved in developing an overall national solid waste management strategy for the MSWR. The findings and corresponding strategy will directly help improve solid waste collection within low- income communities along the Odaw River catchment.