Twenty-six teams of researchers from 13 universities and research institutions in the country have received a GH¢5 million grant from the Jospong Group of Companies’ (JGC) Environmental Sanitation Research Fund (ESRF) to investigate issues in the environmental and sanitation space.
The grant will fund research projects to be led by the researchers to help keep the country clean and support the national drive towards achieving the relevant United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 26 teams of researchers were selected from 45 applications.
The Managing Director of the Africa Environmental Sanitation (AfES) Consult Limited, the administrators of the fund, Dr Abena Asomaning Antwi, disclosed this at a ceremony in Accra last Friday.
The successful teams include researchers from the Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, the C.K. Tedam University of Applied Science, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research — Institute for Industrial Research, and the Ho Technical University.
Others are from the Institute of Local Government Studies, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the Kumasi Technical University and the Koforidua Technical University.
The rest are from the University for Development Studies, the University of Energy and Natural Resources, the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, the University of Education, Winneba, the University of Ghana, Legon and the University of Professional Studies, Accra.
Dr Antwi said the institutions would conduct their research within their respective regions.
“These projects will help in the development and the realisation of the SDGs on climate action, clean water and sanitation,” she said.
Dr Antwi stated that the research topics included waste to energy, improvements to the solid and liquid waste management systems, and the enhancement of compost quality.
The Board Chairperson of AfES Consult Ltd, Dr Mercy Gardiner Tenkorang, underscored the importance of research and development on the environment and sanitation, explaining that the funding scheme would provide the necessary support for practical and empirically-based sustainable research in the field of environmental sanitation.
That, she added, would help to bridge the “ever-widening gap” between academia and industry, while identifiying and researching specific industry problems within the ecosystem of waste management to find sustainable solutions.
Dr Tenkorang indicated that the thriving private sector in environmental sanitation was saddled with socio-economic and environmental challenges in their day-to-day business operations.
The challenges, she pointed out, included finding new ways to add value to the waste collected by adopting economy models and other environmentally friendly approaches such as green and smart cities.
The Chief Operating Officer of Jospong Group of Companies, Mrs Florence Larbi, in a speech read on her behalf, stressed that for the gains along the waste management value chain to be sustained and further improved, there was the need for a “strong research, development and innovation framework”.
She asserted: “An integrated system should focus on both the technical and non-technical elements of waste management and strategic and appropriate partnership with stakeholders”.