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General News of Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Source: Class FM

Waste Management: ‘Gigantic leaps not small steps needed’ - Kwabena Agyepong

Suspended General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, a fellow of the Ghana Institution of Engineering FGhIE, has raised red flags about disposal and management of waste in Ghana, and has advised authorities to devise pragmatic solutions to prevent the devastating effects in the near future.

Mr Agyepong, member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (MASCE), has indicated that: “The journey towards sustainable waste management may be a long one but what the country needs now are gigantic leaps not small steps. Future projections show that by 2025, daily solid waste generation in Accra alone will reach 4,000 tons.

“The signals are worrying. To move higher up the sanitation ladder, Ghana would have to process most of the biodegradable fraction using waste to energy facilities and recycle more of the inorganic waste fraction thereby reducing the waste that eventually gets landfilled”.

This was contained in an article by Mr Agyepong titled: “Waste Management Options in Ghana, Future Strategy”.

He said a future strategy based on a simple sorting and separation of waste at source is recommended for roll-out by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

“Two waste streams, namely biodegradable waste comprising mainly food waste, kitchen waste, garden waste, agricultural waste designated GREEN and other wastes including plastics, paper, cardboard, packaging, glass, metals, rubber, textiles, leather designated ORANGE should be institutionalized,” he added.

For him, not much importance has been attached to public education as a tool for effective implementation of Integrated Solid Waste Management therefore “a systematic and sustained educational campaign is needed to make source separation a part of the waste disposal culture at the household level”.

He said political authorities should first recognize environmental issues as issues of national priority and create the necessary regulatory environment to attract more private investment into the waste sector as well as allocating the required resources to improve the sanitation infrastructure.

“Future strategy must fully embrace the Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) model coupled with innovative social re-engineering, in order to ?nd permanent solutions to the mounting problems presented by the ever-increasing volumes of waste which appears to have overwhelmed the sector.

“The standards achieved by the developed countries are simply unattainable by the developing countries in the short term. However, it is hoped that sooner rather than later Ghana should be able to manage solid waste in a way similar to how the industrialized countries have successfully transformed the waste sector, but for now Ghana most focus its attention on the basics.

“Education authorities should develop environmental studies as a core subject of the primary school curriculum teaching children the health implications and the environmental impacts of indiscriminate waste disposal. The benefits to the society and the environment of source separation, recycling and resource recovery should be emphasized. Being in their formative years, their values may be easily influenced thereby ensuring a ‘greener’ future generation,” he admonished.


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