Waste management: case study of solid waste and nightsoil in Techiman

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There is great health benefits derived from sanitary disposal of wastes. However effective disposal has not been achieved to date in most developing countries including Ghana. Coverage of facilities in these countries is woefully inadequate yet efforts being made by national governments and international donor agencies to solve the sanitation problem through the provision of adequate services for the people are continuously retarded by the rapid growth in population. The great spurt in urban populations over and above the rate of provision of facilities has created huge backlog which need to be cleared if the W.H.O goal of Health for all by the year 2000 can be achieved. However, the fragile economies of these countries, coupled with the absence of institutional and managerial capacity to sustain planning and implemented programmes makes it difficult for policy makers to develop alternative technologies that are appropriate to local conditions and affordable by the people. For these reason most urban areas, including the study area has been allowed to develop their own sanitary systems under the concept of “non-plan”. The key issue addressed in the present study is thus the modifications or reforms in management structure required to improve the provision of good sanitary facilities and Services to the people of the study area whose low income levels place them beyond the reach of the variety of standard facilities available in more affluent countries. The problem was addressed by investigating the existing systems for sanitary provision in the study area with respect to their operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and management problems. The approach used in the study was based on the Development planning process which involved data collection and analysis, defining the specific sanitation problems of the study area, setting of broad sanitation development goals and ob3ectives, formulating alternative sanitation policies and strategies reflective of, and r responsive to local needs, testing of the alternative strategies for the most suitable scenario, identifying the specific action areas and the required institutional structure needed to implement the identified packaged programmes. The methodology is iterative and cyclical, and allowed the consistent analysis and evaluation of the internal institutional and resources capacities that in turn allowed the identification of the gaps between Identified packaged projects and resources, and helped to structure these into short, medium and long term programmes. It is also normative and incorporated techniques far “futures- forecasting” of sanitation needs in addition to trend techniques. It was found that the existing disposal system of wastes in the town have serious detrimental effects on the environment apart from the specific health risks it has on the people. In particular, it was observed that the tem seriously pollutes the streams which are currently important sources of domestic water supply in the Techiman township. It was confirmed from the study that the weak institutional capacity o± the existing management structure coupled with widespread mismanagements especially of public infrastructure and equipment makes it impossible for the District Administration in Techiman to cope with the colossal backlog in facilities. It was however identified that the private sector has great resource potential which the TDA can tap in its efforts to solve the sanitation problems of the town. Other problems identified with the management system include wrong design of latrine facilities, over-utilization of disposal equipments, lack of good social and health educational support to ensure appropriate usage and maintenance of facilities, and so on. The promotional nature of the sanitation methodology adopted in the present study required that the categories of needy groups in the town be diagnosed so that implementation strategies could be specifically directed to them. In this sense, three groups were identified namely (a) those without facilities in their homes and are solely using public latrines (b) those households using bucket latrines which need to be upgraded because of their atrocious health risks, and (c) those already using improved systems but which because of some minor problems .technical or otherwise, are dysfunctioning. This category need their facilities be rehabilitated for them.Reforms and modifications needed: The recommendations proposed included the formulation of long term sanitation policy proposals and strategies for Techiman. In this case broad programmes were identified for implementation to help improve the sanitation situation in Techiman. It recognizes the limited resources in the study area and brings it weight to bear on essentials. Thus the focus of action will be to select affordable, feasible and upgradable levels of service that take into account the socio-cultural background of the people as well as the physical characteristics of housing types in the town. In this regard, it was proposed that the indigenous and tenement housing sectors should be the target for any immediately conceived improvement programme. Besides, it was proposed that municipal waste management services be extended to households and institutions beside the present collection and disposal services rendered in the markets and lorry parks. Facilities for the sanitary treatment and disposal of wastes need to be developed. Finally, the institutional reforms needed to respond favourably to the long term needs for sanitary services in the town were proposed testing of options resulted in selection o a alternative structure which considers separation of operations and monitoring functions under different departments with full private participation in key areas. A major innovation in the proposed structure is the formulation of a waste management department (WMD) and the setting of a coordination mechanism to enable the proposed wastes management department (WMD) to work effectively hand in hand with defined agencies and actors in the provision of sanitation facilities and services, for instance Area and Unit Committees, Town & Country Planning, and so on. It is anticipated that the proposed structure should be able to draw a comprehensive programme for dealing effectively with the solid waste management problems of the town in addition to these of human waste. To ensure implementability in terms of resources and roles, the proposals include (a) a framework for the mobilization of financial resources from both internal and external sources and (b) man-power training programmes needed. In conclusion the methodology used in the study has been goal-oriented and highly discriminatory in choice of tasks to be performed and policies arid projects to be implemented.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning, 1990