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Opinions of Saturday, 10 April 2010

Columnist: Abas, Clement

Keeping Ghana Clean By Profiting From Our Waste

By Dr. Clement Abas Apaak

Accra and other African cities according to a UN report generate 80% organic waste; 10% plastic, glass, and metals waste and less than 12% paper waste per day. However, most of this waste is not properly collected and disposed in a safe and healthy manner. A walk from Circle to the STC yard, a drive between the Achimota interchange and Lapaz, a visit to the vicinity of the landfill at Nungua, and a drive in sections of any of our regional capitals will prove that Ghana has a major waste management and disposal problem that can be a deterrent to economic development. Sadly, the issue of dealing with our own generated waste is now compounded by E-waste: old computers and TV sets from the so-called developed nations. While the main focus of this article is locally generated waste, it must be noted that Ghana has become an E-waste dump, the focus of my next article on the subject of waste.Generally, problems are encountered at all levels of waste management in Ghana; sorting, collection, transportation, disposal and evaluation of impact to environment and public health. Accumulation and improper management, treatment and disposal of waste pose a serious threat to environmental quality and public health in many cities and communities. These threats are exacerbated by the lack of awareness regarding the environmental impact of waste and deficient systems for proper waste management and disposal in Ghana. If you disagree visit the landfill at Nungua or visit Sodom and Gommorah, both in AccraMore specifically, the problems and challenges in dealing with waste in Ghana include: a proliferation of low-density collection points; high operating costs of traditional waste collection and treatment systems; an economy that limits the viability of recycling or alternative waste treatment systems; and limited land availability for sanitary landfill activities, due to competing land uses. These conditions have led to improper design and siting of non-sanitary landfills, often in close proximity to water sources, which creates aesthetic and odour nuisances, increased health risks and climate change effects caused by gaseous emissions.Indeed, it is true that a larger part of our population is uneducated about the health and environmental risk of disposing waste indiscriminately, but, it is also the case that the existing systems are not coping with the ever-increasing volume of waste generated in Ghana. This will only increase with the takeoff of the oil and gas industry and associated industries. These new industries will surely generate waste directly and indirectly as new communities emerge in and around them. The Ministry of Local Government, municipal councils, district assemblies, and waste management companies, including Zoomlion, must look at alternative systems if we are to make gains in dealing with our waste in Ghana. As is the case today, Zoomlion, the largest waste management company in Ghana continues to be busy in various parts of the nation collecting waste. Yet the services provided by Zoomlion, government agencies, and other waste management companies have been unable to resolve our waste problems, sections of our cities and towns remain unclean. Those tasked with dealing with our waste in Ghana should consider Quadra's Projects Inc.'s patented QES2000 Waste-to-energy System (WtE). The System is the most advanced pyrolysis and gasification system in the world and can process up to 100 tonnes of unsorted waste per day. It is specifically designed to convert waste such as palm husks, used tires, plastic waste and unsorted municipal waste to valuable by-products such as N220 carbon black, biochar fertilizer, and/or fuel oil or fuel gas for the production of electrical power, without any measurable environmental pollution or ash to be land filled. What makes this product special is that it:
1. Produces fuel oil and diesel oil from solid waste such as medical waste, plastics, rubber tyres, domestic waste input among others; 2. Produces organic fertilizer from plants, fruit, vegetable waste, shell fish waste,  prawn waste, crabs waste , lobster waste as well as seed weed among others; 3. Produces activated carbon, useful for mining applications from rubber, vehicle tyres and most black plastics among others.  The QES2000 System is most suitable for developing nations like Ghana because it can be a mobile or fixed plant, and has the ability to convert waste at location. The other attraction of this system is that it generates its own fuel oil and diesel, it is a self contained system, and can generate its own electrical power. A third attribute that makes this system especially attractive for deployment in Ghana and other developing countries is that the conversion plant is factory assembled and delivered ready to operate. This reduces project preparation and installation time to the barest minimum. The QES2000 System is designed to meet the Global challenges of the 21st Century wherein natural resources are being exhausted; the petroleum industry is unstable and uncertain in terms of cost and supply and the world is seeing a degradation of the Global environment. As a result of the affordability of the QES2000 System, and the creation of significant revenue streams from the by-products, the return on investment is much greater than other competitive systems. It is for this reason that it is being deployed in China and Taiwan as well as in Canada, and USA by late 2010. Other nations including India and Malaysia are also in discussions towards procuring the QES2000 plants.
A Waste-to-energy system (WtE) like Quadra's QES2000 System offers a novel and effective response to manage our waste and energy issues such as pollution prevention, the protection of drinking water resources, energy generation and increased energy efficiency. It also has the potential to improve environmental health while creating better social and economic conditions by providing new jobs; triggering the growth of small industries and environmental services; and lowering waste collection and treatment costs. The effort to collect and properly dispose our waste will be greatly bolstered if Ghanaians knew that they could profit from their waste. In these hard economic times, do you honestly think that if people knew they could profit from the waste they generate they will throw it out indiscriminately? do you think if waste management companies could sell the byproducts of waste, and not have to deal with moving waste to landfills they will make a greater effort to collect waste in all parts of our cities and towns? Waste management companies, district and municipal councils as well as other government agencies could generate income and more jobs from waste via the QES2000 System. They could encourage citizens with incentives to save and bring waste to processing centers with plants installed to convert waste into valuable by-products such as N220 carbon black, biochar fertilizer, and/or fuel oil or fuel gas for the production of electrical power. These products, much needed and useful, could then be sold to generate revenue. The Ministry of Local Government and waste management companies operating in Ghana and Africa now have a link to Quadra, via EOK Consulting Inc. of Canada and Advanced Materials and Chemical Technologies founded by Ernest Daddey, a Canadian of Ghanaian decent. EOK represents Quadra Projects Inc in various parts of the global market, with Africa being a key market segment for the QES2000 System. Mr. Daddey has expressed the hope that Ghana will be the first nation in Africa to use the QES2000 System as it will solve the problems encountered during collection, transportation and disposal of waste. He believes that the QES2000 System will eliminate the problems of treatment and disposal of waste, thereby removing the serious threat waste poses to environmental quality and public health in the cities and communities of Ghana. According to him, a joint venture approach will be a great business model with regards to the QES2000, especially involving government, the private sector and community groups.

Interested parties in Ghana and other parts of Africa may contact EOK Consulting Inc by calling 0200117620 in Ghana, or 604-767-2008 in Canada. Address e-mail enquires to Dr. Clement Abas