The Problem of Solid Waste Management

Reader Impact Factor Score
[Total: 4 Average: 5]

Published on International Journal of Health, Nursing, & Medicine
Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Ackah, James Yamekeh, Chukwuma Adaobi & Atianashie Miracle
Catholic University College of Ghana

Journal Full Text PDF: The Problem of Solid Waste Management (A Case Edification Introspecting the Kwahu West Municipality of Ghana).

This study was conducted to determine problems of solid waste management at Nkwakaw. The study consisted of 100 respondents chosen from 90 households using systematic sampling technique. This study is purely descriptive cross sectional study with both quantitative and qualitative methods. Statistical package for social scientist (SPSS) version was used for the analysis after data collection using close and open ended questions. At the end of the study, the findings came out that the respondents have a way of managing their solid waste with some of them using the services of private contractors. Twenty-three percent (23%) of the respondents dumped their solid waste elsewhere which is later used as manure for their backyard farming. It was noted that inadequate communal containers for storing waste, lack of routine collection of waste and inadequate resources for the sanitation unit to effectively collect the waste generated are some of the problems uncounted in terms of waste management. The researcher at the end of the study recommends that the public should be educated by the environmental health officers on solid waste and its related issues. Basically, hygiene practices should be taught especially on radios, televisions, in newspapers, and in schools to educate people on proper ways of handling solid waste and keeping the surrounding clean. Also, there be adequate supply of resources and regular collection of waste.

Keywords: 3 Solid Waste, Attitude and Perception, West Municipal, Hazard.

Solid waste is grouped into two main characteristic types, namely, combustible and non-combustibles. Combustible waste comprise of card, paper, plastics, wood these are wastes which can easily be burnt. Non combustibles are those that cannot be easily burnt such as cans, metals, glasses, among others (Nang’echi, 1992, p.6).
“Waste handling is one of the greatest challenges facing human kind in the modern times in spite of the numerous technological achievements that have been documented. Technology alone has not been able to effectively control waste generated in communities’ worldwide. Rather it appears that new technologies bring new types of waste into the environment to add to the complex accumulation puzzle” (Kwawe, 1995:53). “a great mixture of substances including fine dust, cinder, metals, glass, paper and cardboard, textiles, pesticides, vegetable materials and plastics characterized solid waste” (Simmens, 1981).
Solid management has been the integral part of every human society (Shekdar, 2009). This problem has been increasing with change in in consumption pattern; increase in consumerism and unavailability of waste management facilities. One obvious consequence of rapid urbanization is the growing generation of solid waste and many city authorities face unprecedented challenges in managing these, including problems of coping their collection and disposal (2006).
According to Tchobanoglous et al. (1993), solid waste management is a discipline associated with the control of generation, collection, transfer and transport, processing and disposal of solid waste in a manner that is in accordance with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetic and other environmental considerations and that is also responsive to the public attitudes.
“Recent events in major urban Centres in Africa have shown that the problem of waste management has become a monster that has aborted most effort by city authorities, state and the federal government and professionals alike” (Onibokun 1999). Waste is more recognized than defined, something can become waste when it is no longer useful to the owner or it is used and fail to fulfill its purpose (Gouley, 1992). According to Miller (1988), solid waste is any useless, unwanted or discarded material that is not liquid or gas.
Eating healthy food to be strong, productive and live long is synonymous to caring about waste management in our society. According to the United Nations conference on human settlement report, one-third to half of solid waste generated within most cities in low and middle income countries are not collected. They usually end up as illegal dumps on streets open space and waste lands (UNCH, 1996).
Throughout the western world, there are no longer convenient holes in the ground into which to tip unwanted matter (Gouley, 1992). The developing countries, having refused to become the ‘garbage container’ of the western world, also lack appropriate storage facilities, treatment technologies and methods of waste disposal. In the olden days, waste disposal did not pose problems as inhabitants and were sparse and enough land. Waste management became a problem due to the rise of town and cities where large numbers of people started to migrate to relatively small areas in search of greener pastures. According to Mensah et al. (2005), based on an estimated population of 22 million an d average daily waste generation per capita of 0.45kg, Ghana generates annually about 3.0million tons of solid waste.
Ghana’s first sanitary landfill facilities were commissioned in the four largest towns in the country namely Accra, Kumasi, and Sekondi Takoradi between 2003 and 2004. Solid waste is waste consisting of domestic waste, industrial waste, public cleansing or street waste containing less than 70% of water. Solid waste is widespread environmental problem and has been categorized into two broad terms namely hazardous and non-hazardous. Hazardous waste are those unwanted materials capable of posing a substantial threat to health or the environment. Non-hazardous waste is those waste that pose no direct threat to human, animal or plant life. However, they are risk to the society and the ecology if too much is generated and not properly managed.
Solid waste management involves collection, storage, transportation and disposal of solid waste. Nkawkaw is engulfed in fifth because it has a serious waste management from generation through storage to disposal. The wrong perception and unconcern attitude of resident towards waste management might also be the cause of this problem.

Solid waste management anywhere in the world is a problem that continually accelerates as a product of industrialization and population growth. As cities grow economically, greater business activity and diverse consumption patterns serve to drive up the solid waste quantities. Ghana has been principal victim of this disaster. Enough attention has been given to this challenge, but it seems to be a mere lip service that is played. A holistic and technical approach is needed since solid waste management is a complex challenge for the environment. ( 24-09-11).
Waste that are not properly managed are a serious health hazards leading to the spread of infectious diseases. Unattended waste lying around attracts flies, rats, and creatures that in turn spread diseases. WHO (2004) estimates that about 1.8 million people die annually from diarrheal diseases where 90% are children under five, mostly in developing countries. With the increasing influx of the people and the rapid urbanization, huge amount of human and small scale business waste of about 950 tones generate out of which 480 tones are collected representing 51%. This leaves a substantial amount of back log that creates various kinds of inconveniences including health hazards to the people of Nkawkaw. Indiscriminate dumping of waste, irregular collection of waste generated and inadequate resources are the problems facing solid waste management in the municipal. Also lack of equipment and the absence of proper engineered final disposal sites delay the emptying of containers placed at vantage points. These containers overflow and litter scattered around it leading to the possible factors of diarrheal diseases. It therefore becomes necessary for this study to examine the problems of solid waste management in Nkawkaw.

Records of the Nkawkaw Holy Family Hospital shows that aside diet, most of the reported cases are sanitation related of which solid waste is inclusive (records of HFH Nkawkaw). Diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and diarrheal diseases are commonly found in the area. Human resources could be lost through poor waste management and this can affect productivity in the area. Solid waste management seems to be neglected and as such prompted the researcher to study in problems with solid waste management at Nkawkaw in the Kwahu West Municipal. The study therefore intends to explore appropriate strategies and recommendations in clearing solid waste in the sustainable manner.

 To assess solid waste management both at household level and the municipal level.
 To ascertain the attitude and perception of people towards solid waste management.
 To assess the kind of incentive available for Kwahu West Municipal workers in dealing with solid waste in terms of health hazards.

 How often do you assess solid waste management both at household a municipal level?
 What are the attitudes and perceptions of the people in view of solid waste management?
 What kinds of incentives are available for the workers?
 What is the health hazards associated with solid waste?

The study is significant because it will help the researcher to discover the problems of solid waste management. It will help create awareness about the dangers associated with improper waste management. It will be relevant to the \kwahu municipal Assembly and the Municipal Environmental Health Department as to how to properly manage solid waste. The study will assist policy makers to draw concrete plans that will tackle the problems of solid waste management and also stimulate further research.

Although there are quite a number of suburbs in Nkawkaw, the researcher decide to include Zongo, Akuajoo and Maamaso communities for the household level. The reason is that, it is normally in these three communities that communal refuse containers get full and litters scattered around the containers.

2.1 Solid Waste Management Practices both at Household and the Municipal levels.
According to Nyachhyon (2006), public partnership has been identified as efficient instrument to promote solid waste management at the municipal level. Usually in the area of urban public service such as waste management, are promoted as a means to deliver service through a contractual relationship with a private sector firm.
Nyang’ echi (1992 p. 45) , stated that when solid waste is left to lie and heap on the ground, decomposition takes place and the nuisance of smell , flies and invasion of rodents occur. These decomposition waste can be used as manure through composting for farming purposes. He therefore explains that waste at the households and the municipal levels can be use be used various purpose called composting when the waste is condensed. Benneh et al. (1993) observed that residential domestic waste forms the bulk of all sources of solid waste produced in urban areas. These household wastes are known to have high densities with high moisture content and the organic component of solid waste, which properly accounts for about 70% to 90% , while tins , cans and proper are probably responsible for about 5% to 10% of the total waste generated is still weak , about 83% of the population dump refuse in either authorized or unsanitary conditions.
The overall problem of solid waste management at municipal level is obviously multi- faceted ; many organizations including the United Nations and various non – governmental organizations advocated an integrated approach to solid waste management at the municipal level by identifying key stakeholders, identifying specific issues which comprise ” stumbling blocks” and making recommendations based on appropriate technologies, local information, pressing human and environmental health concern ( UNEP,2009; Hope , 1998 ) . Within each sector, there are various sub sectors which can and are being dealt with separately by many nations and municipalities.
Developing countries have solid waste management problems different from those found in fully industrialized countries, (Cointreau, 1982 ) , in his study noted several common differences in the composition of solid waste of solid waste in developing nations;
• Waste density two to three times greater than industrialized nations.
• Moisture content two three greater than industrialized nations.
• Large amount of organic waste (vegetable matter).
• Large quantities of dust, dirty (street sweeping)
• Smaller particle size on average than in industrialized nations
These differences from industrialized nations must be recognized both in terms of the additional problems they present as well as the potential opportunities which arise from their waste composition. In areas where there are collection services which removes waste from individual households, often there are no standardized containers used to store waste prior to pick up.
Headley (1998), stated that in Barbados, there are no containers designated by municipalities to ” set out ” waste for collection; it is sort of collection containers. Frequently, these are plastic barrels or discarded oil drums, however the majority of households simply place grocery bags full of waste on the street to await collection. There may be physical dangers to collection threatening the integrity of the later.
Zubrugg stated that solid waste management at the municipal level in developing countries has typical problem area that can be identified. He described them as:
• Limited utilization of recycling activities
• Inadequate landfill disposal.
• Inadequate management of hazardous and health care waste.
Guoley (1992) argued that by focusing on the production process itself , examining where waste are generated and exploring how they can be reduced , even simple measure such as separating was so that they can be reused more easily, using different raw materials or replacing non-biodegradable product with biodegradable ones can help achieve large waste reduction results. He also claimed that the greater put of present waste arises not because the producer does not want it in such quantities that waste is inevitable. This argument paces emphasis on recycling and conversation of waste management practices.