In Ghana, municipal solid waste management is the direct responsibility of the wastemanagement departments and environment...
 Chemical analysis of wastesMaterials and methodsStudy AreaThe land area of the Akwapim South Municipality is about 403km...
Sampling for waste characterizationStratified random sampling technique was employed in this study. In this technique, sam...
User perception of existing waste management facilities       Knowledge of refuse sorting       Availability and type of d...
residential areas, where house-to-house refuse collections programmescannot be provided.There should be promotion of sourc...
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Management of domestic solid wastes at the Akwapim South Municipality in Ghana


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A look at the waste management practices and suggestions to improve the solid waste practices at the Akwapim South Municipality of Ghana was conducted.

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Management of domestic solid wastes at the Akwapim South Municipality in Ghana

  1. 1. MANAGEMENT OF DOMESTIC SOLID WASTES AT THE AKWAPIM SOUTH MUNICIPALITYIN GHANAAuthor: Michael AckahAffiliation: Nuclear Chemistry and Environmental Research Centre, National Nuclear ResearchInstitute, GAEC, P. O. Box LG 80, Legon-Accra, GhanaEmail: mikeackah@ymail.comTel: 00233243902501AbstractThe key findings of a solid waste characterization study conducted at the Akwapim SouthMunicipality are reported. Household solid wastes generated by a number of residents of twoimportant towns of the Municipality namely Nsawam and Adoagyiri, were collected through astratified random sampling technique. The wastes collected were separated into the variouscomponents after manual sorting. Each component of the waste stream (i.e. organic, paper,plastics, metals/cans, textiles, glass, inert materials/residues and miscellaneous components)were weighed and recorded. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered to households toelicit detailed information on waste management practices among households. Some physico-chemical properties of refuse such as moisture content and heavy metals were also assessed.Household solid wastes generated by households in the Akwapim South Municipality mainlyconsisted of the putrescible or biodegradable componentwith significant compostablecomposition in the range of 40-60%.Keywords: waste characterization, organic wastes, composting, Akwapim South Municipality,GhanaIntroductionAll human activities generate liquid, solid or gaseous waste which may be hazardous or non-hazardous. There is the need to manage these wastes in a sustainable and integrated mannerwith minimal effects on human health and the environment. Integrated management of thesewastes however becomes a problem, due to rapid urbanization. In many developing countries,30-50% of the population is urban (Thomas-Hope, 1998) and in many African countries, thegrowth rate of urban areas exceeds 4% (Senkoro, 2003).It has been estimated that not all residents of urban and peri-urban areas in developingcountries receive integrated and sustainable solid waste management services, as it is a costlyservice that consumes about 20-50% of the municipal budget and yet serves no more than 70%of the population (Bartone and Bernstein, 1993). Those who receive poorly or do not receivewaste management services are usually low-income populations concentrated in peri-urbanareas. The problem of poor waste management services is compounded by lack of documentedspecific information on the various waste streams pertinent to African cities, towns and villages. 1
  2. 2. In Ghana, municipal solid waste management is the direct responsibility of the wastemanagement departments and environmental health and sanitation departments scattered inMetropolitan and municipal assemblies respectively. However, they lack the required technicalresources to manage wastes effectively, while the problem worsens daily as a result ofenhanced consumption patterns and waste generation due to improved income levels. TheAkwapim south Municipality is located in the Eastern Region of Ghana and encompasses twomajor and important towns namely Nsawam and Adoagyiri. The municipality, unique for itsstrategic and close proximity to Accra, the Capital town of Ghana, has a lot of transientpopulation. The Municipality is bounded by the Akwapim North District to the east, West Akimdistrict to the west, Ga West District to the south, and Suhum-Kraboa- Coaltar district to thenorth. The Administrative capital is Nsawam. Other important towns include Aburi known widelyfor its tourism potential. The Akwapim south municipal assembly is the political, planning andadministrative body of the municipality and the assembly is headed by a Municipal ChiefExecutive and assisted by a secretariat to ensure the overall development of the Municipality.Other units or departments in the assembly include the budgeting, finance, administrative,planning, works and engineering and environment and sanitation. Waste Management directlyfalls under the responsibility of the Environmental health and sanitation department and for themanagement of solid wastes the municipality has been divided into six zones for properprovision of sanitation and effective solid waste management services. Thus the AkwapimSouth Municipality in Ghana has committed tremendous efforts and resources towards solidwaste collection and disposal. They have even ensured private sector participation throughcontracting solid waste services under special arrangements (Asubonteng, 2008), the urbanareas of the municipality are drowning under heaps of garbage with concomitant health andenvironmental hazards. Some factors contributing to the above problem include  Apparent lack of detailed knowledge of the waste types, quantities, composition, generated at the Municipality. This makes it difficult to find and recommend practical solutions  Non-existence or inadequate community participation. This is critical to the success of any waste management programme.  Inadequate operation funds, skills and capacity of waste management staff and facilities.  Other socio-political problems such as weak and/or outdated and poorly enforced regulationsThe aim of the study was to conduct a solid waste characterization study that will bring toknowledge of the waste types and composition generated by urban residents at the Municipality.The specific objectives included  Reconnaissance survey of the municipality  Design and administration of questionnaire to households to elicit responses on waste practices at the household and communal level  Collection and separation of waste  Analysis of the waste stream composition of the collected and separated waste  Physical analysis of wastes 2
  3. 3.  Chemical analysis of wastesMaterials and methodsStudy AreaThe land area of the Akwapim South Municipality is about 403km2, with an estimated populationof 116,334 (GSS, 2002). The municipality comprises the Densu plains, the Pompan narrow landand the Akwapim Togo mountain range, which rises over 1000 feet above sea-level at Aburi.The Municipality is drained by the DensuRiver and its tributary rivers and streams. The DensuRiver is approximated 115.8km long and its source is the AtiwaMountain ranges near Kibi in theEastern Region. Rainfall is in the range of 1250-2000 mm whereas mean temperatures rangebetween 26oC and 30oC. Two main vegetation types, the moist semi-deciduous forest andcoastal savanna grassland cover the municipality. The forest occupies almost 90% of theMunicipality, covering the north, west and all of the area in the east. The remaining 10% is thesouth where coastal shrub and grassland vegetation dominates. This forms the transitional zonebetween the coastal savannah and rain forest region. There are about 188 communities makingup the municipality. The population distribution and household size of some of the communitiesin the Akwapim South Municipality are described below.Table i: Population distribution and household sizes of important towns in the Akwapim southmunicipality (source Ghana Statistical Service, 2005)TOWN POPULATION HOUSEHOLD SIZENsawam 29986 6947Adoagyiri 13058 3187Aburi 10071 2348Pakro 2580 592Pokrom 2181 383Fotobi 2008 440Nsawam and Adoagyiri are adjoining towns, located on the main Accra-Kumasi Highway, about37 km from Accra, the nation’s capital. Nsawam is located on latitude 5o 48 N and longitude 0o21 W whereas Adoagyiri is located on latitude 5o 49N and longitude 0o 21 W. Majority of theinhabitants engage in commercial farming especially in the areas of pineapple, pawpaw, mangoand the cultivation of other exportable vegetables such as chilli pepper. Bakery is also anotherarea of commercial activity that the inhabitants engage in. The two towns are noted for hawkingalong the main Accra-Kumasi Highway and the most common commodity being sold by thehawkers is bread. 3
  4. 4. Sampling for waste characterizationStratified random sampling technique was employed in this study. In this technique, samplingsites were allocated to high, middle and low income socio-economic groups in the study area.The sample unit was the household. A sample size of 50 households made up of high income,middle income and low income households were selected for the study with the help of theStatistical Service of the Municipality. High income households were selected from high classresidential areas of Nsawam and Adoagyiri, occupied by people of standing, especiallymunicipal heads of departments, medical doctors, businessmen. Moderate earning governmentworkers, small business owners and company workers formed mainly the middle incomehouseholds, while petty traders and other low-earning workers mainly occupy the low-incomehouseholds, selected from low class residential areas. The households that were selected wereeach given a number and data files, which was specific for each household. A household bydefinition of the study referred to a group of individuals sharing a common dwelling andgenerate wastes, disposed in a common bin. A 50-litre garbage bin (from TOP Industries,Accra, Ghana) bearing corresponding numbers assigned to the various households selectedwere supplied to the households. It was ensured that households place the bin at vantagelocations within their compound to ensure accessibility to the bins for regular collection andseparation activity. Residents were asked to save their waste for three days. Collections wereundertaken twice weekly for separation within a 12-week period (March-May, 2008). The wastesonce collected were taken to a central area where they were sorted manually after pouring ontoa clean plain large plastic tarpaulin evenly spread out. The various proportions of the wastes,based on intrinsic material properties were separated. The components were organic wastes(including largely putrescible components such as food materials, leaves, garden trimmings,grass and other easily decomposable wastes), Paper (newsprint paper, scrap paper, cardboard,waste paper, paper products and packaging materials), glass (broken glasses, broken bottles,window glass and glass products), plastic wastes (polyethylene products, plastic containers,rubber and rubber products, and artificial leather), metal wastes (aluminium materials,galvanized cans, tin cans, both ferrous and non-ferrous materials and metallic coatings), textile(old and discarded clothing and textile materials), inert residues (earth components, such assand and gravel from sweepings, ashes and already decomposed organic matter) andmiscellaneous wastes (charcoal, bones, palm kernel, snail shells, hard and treated wood,sawdust, pebbles, and ceramic materials).AnalysisAnalysis conducted on the collected and separated wastes included determination of moisturecontent, content of compostable materialsand heavy metals determination using atomicabsorption spectrometry at the Inorganic Laboratory of the Nuclear Chemistry andEnvironmental Research Centre, National Nuclear Research Institute, Ghana Atomic EnergyCommission.QuestionnaireA detailed questionnaire was administered to households. The questionnaire sought to identifyvariables and test indicators such as 4
  5. 5. User perception of existing waste management facilities Knowledge of refuse sorting Availability and type of dustbin Accessibility to disposal sites Reflects on waste and agricultureResults and DiscussionHouseholds on the average from all income brackets, generated higher percentage of organicwastes (63%) followed by inert residues (14%), plastics (8%), paper (6%), metals and cans(3%), textiles (2%), glass (1%) and miscellaneous (3%). Households with low, middle and highincomes were identified as having different priorities and capacities regarding participation andsubscription to waste management services. Sixty percent (60%) of households expressedwillingness to separate waste. The study identified the lack of secondary waste storage facilitiesin most residential areas. Disposal facilities in the municipality receive both decomposable andnon-decomposable wastes, as not a single household perform segregation of wastes at source.Residents stored their solid wastes in improvised containers which are mostly uncovered.Children mostly carry the wastes on their head for onward disposal. Secondary waste skipswere too high for these children and the lack of attendants near these skips pose severechallenges. Physical analysis conducted revealed that the waste generated at the Municipalitycontained significant proportions of compostable materials (40-60%) and moisture contents of(50-60%). The refuse were contaminated with significant heavy metal content in compostablecomponents of the wastes (i.e. mostly organic and paper components). The averagemetalconcentrations recorded for the separated organic wastes fractions were Pb (3.79±3.08)µg/g, Ni(5.78±3.72) µg/g, Cd (0.35±0.17) µg/g, Co (1.97±0.52) µg/g, Fe (22.65±4.84) µg/g) while thosemetal concentrations recorded for the separated paper fractions were Pb (3.48±0.91)µg/g, Ni(3.06±0.85)µg/g, Cd (0.32±0.41)µg/g, Co (1.16±0.88)µg/g, and Fe (25.91±8.41) µg/g.Conclusion and RecommendationsThe study focused on residential solid wastes generated at the Akwapim South Municipality,however, the contribution of wastes from other municipal sources such as lorry parks andmarkets is acknowledged. The difficulty in getting the co-operation of other waste generatorsdue to study time and logistic constraints could not permit such characterization. It is thereforerecommended that a wider study be carried out to assess the contribution of other wastesources to the municipal waste stream at the Akwapim South Municipality.The main collection service provided to households in the Akwapim South Municipality is thecommunal container service at designated residential areas. House to house waste collection isvery rare. Efforts must be made towards organizing this collection service at designatedresidential areas, especially the ones with paved roads which ensure good accessibility.Provision of standardized communal refuse containers should be extended to all other 5
  6. 6. residential areas, where house-to-house refuse collections programmescannot be provided.There should be promotion of source-separation programmes for recycling and compostingsince the waste streams contained relatively higher compostable materials. In order to achievehigher participation in source separation programmes and possibly composting programmes,authorities could provide free standardized containers as an incentive to households. TheAkwapim South Municipality must enforce strict regulations to prevent illegal dumping andinitiate efforts to upgrade the existing open dump to a sanitary landfill.ReferencesAsubonteng, C., (2008) Environmental Health and Sanitation Department, Akwapim SouthMunicipality, Personal CommunicationBartone, C.L and Bernstein, J.D (1993) Improving municipal solid waste management in thirdworld countries, Resources, Conservation and Recycling; Elsevier 8; 43-45Senkoro, H. (2003) Solid waste management in Africa, WHO/AFRO perspective paper 1,presented in Dar es Salam at the CWG workshop, March, 2003Thomas-Hope, E. Ed (1998) Solid waste management, critical issues for developing countries,Kingston canoe press 6