Ghana must emulate China’s model of solid waste management to protect people, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ernest Kwabena Anorson Agyawan, a Ghanaian expert.
Speaking with Xinhua, Agyawan, landfill manager for the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) said China has deployed the source segregation model which enables them to treat several tons of solid waste at any given time.
In Ghana, all kinds of solid waste, including domestic, residential, industrial, and medical waste are mixed together and dumped at landfill sites, a practice which he says poses a health threat to personnel and the general public in the midst of COVID-19 spread.
The adoption of the Chinese segregation model and treatment of solid waste, he emphasized, will protect the people and the environment against hazardous chemicals, and it is also cost-effective as compared to the current method of disposal here.
“In fact, having also traveled to learn or to see what is practiced in other countries such as China, Denmark, and Japan, I think it is ideal that policies are put in place for source segregation to start because we have industries that are doing re-manufacturing of products,” he said.
“We have all the resources that we can produce from but because we really don’t understand what it takes or the technology to use it, we classify it as waste. Look at the bottled water which is a common resource in our economy now, if you go to China, for instance, they reproduce it into bags, school bags, raincoats, among others,” Agyawan told Xinhua.
The solid waste expert observed that the West African country was wasting its land resource by turning several hectares into landfill sites for dumping solid waste.
“If you look at the hierarchy of waste management, landfilling is the least…In our case, we are using raw waste to fill virgin lands. So, we are wasting land, we are wasting the environment in general and we are causing health hazards to human beings around,” he said.
He recommended a waste segregation policy here, especially, in the era of the pandemic.
Ghana has had several challenges dealing with the solid waste it has been generating in recent times notwithstanding the 290 million U.S. dollars spent annually on the country’s waste.
Solid waste management here is delivered in an unsustainable manner. Due to urbanization, large quantities of waste are generated daily and this exerts much pressure on an overstrained solid waste management system.
In 2017, the Ghanaian government promised to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. However, many say the strewn filth in the various towns and cities as well as the mountain-like solid waste dumping sites found here coupled with relaxed sanitation law enforcement makes the goal hard to achieve within a short period of time