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Review & Commentary

Vol. 4 No. 1 (2020): Subdued?

Solid Waste Management Practices in Ghana: Challenges and Prospects

4 March 2019


World Bank report revealed that waste generation has been on the ascendancy, the worlds’ cities generated 2.01 billion tons of solid waste in the year 2016. This figure is expected to reach 3.40 billion tons per year by 2050 due to increasing urbanization – a growth of 70%. Proper management of these has become a challenge for most developing countries in recent years. The path of urbanization, population growth and affluence is associated with the challenge of proper waste management in urban areas of developing countries since the higher the income level and rate of urbanization, the greater the solid waste generated.

Unfortunately, sub-Saharan African countries like Ghana only focuses on waste collection instead of waste management. Waste management comprises all activities and actions needed to manage waste from inception to the final disposal. These activities and actions include collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste as well as monitoring and regulation. Also, Sanitary landfilling is among the best methods of decreasing the volume of waste products; however, the lack of suitable land for landfill sites is a key issue. Therefore, the lifespan of a landfill site can be prolonged when waste reduction at the source is well considered as an aspect of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management.

Solid waste management in Ghana has been faced with several challenges which includes; poor attitude of the general populace towards waste disposal sanitation, unplanned human settlement especially in the urban centers, poor planning of waste management programmes, low or no public education on the good sanitation, inadequate waste infrastructure, lack of political will in enforcing sanitation bye laws, inadequate operational funds and equipment to support waste management activities among others. Also, there is lack of reliable national data on waste generation and composition to inform effective planning on waste management in Ghana

Developing countries such as Ghana has to adopt measures that will be sustainable, efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly to help in proper waste management and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 3, 6, and 11 by 2030.


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