Lack of infrastructure bane of waste management
The lack of adequate infrastructure has been identified as the major obstacle to Ghana's sustainable waste management agenda.
A recent desk study conducted by the Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) identified that inadequate sanitation practices cost Ghana a staggering GH¢420 million or $290 million annually.
In Ghana, out of the one million tonnes of plastic waste generated annually, only 10 per cent is recycled. Nine per cent finds its way into the ocean.
The nation's waste management challenge, in the view of an environmental expert, Venan Sondo, who was speaking at the opening of a two-day Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) German Academic Exchange Services Alumni hands-on training programme in Accra, could be overcome with adequate provision of infrastructure and waste management that align with good practices across the country.
The training, which aimed at promoting sustainable waste management practices in Ghana, was on the theme: “Upstream sustainable management of plastic pollution in Accra with expertise from DAAD Alumni.”
It attracted DAAD alumni who are mostly researchers, operators in the waste management sector and students, teachers and heads of basic schools from schools in the Weija community.
Its target is also to increase public awareness through practical demonstrations, discourage the use of single-use plastics and encourage waste collection initiatives in communities and schools.
Waste management infrastructure includes all the systems and facilities involved in collecting, transporting, processing and disposing of waste.
To Mr Sondo, such infrastructure must include facilities that would make it possible to segregate waste in communities, industries and all levels for the safe and economical management of waste.
Expressing concern over the poor sanitation condition in most parts of the country, Mr Sondo who is also the Country Director, Chaint Afrique Ghana, a company that collects and recycles fishing nets, observed that the situation did not only burden the economy but also threatened public health.
The alarming rate of plastic waste entering the ocean, he said, was a global crisis that demanded immediate attention.
He cited a study at the estuary of River Ayensu at Winneba, which revealed that over 275,000 kilogrammes of plastic waste entered the sea each year.
The revelations from the recent study, he said, emphasised the pressing need for action to combat poor sanitation and plastic pollution in Ghana and around the world.
“We must work together to find sustainable solutions to mitigate these environmental and economic challenges.
There is lack of infrastructure and that makes it virtually impossible for those who really want to segregate or recycle their waste to have difficulties, It's crucial that we address these issues promptly,” he said.
He said he was hopeful that the development of the plastic action roadmap under the Ghana Plastic Action Partnership would scale up efforts aimed at achieving the target of zero plastic in Ghana by 2040.
The lead organiser of the training, Derick Tanka Vershie, called for the institution of plastic waste management challenge in communities to promote innovation and effective waste management practices.
He also called for increased awareness of the negative effects of plastics on the environment and responsible waste disposal in communities.