Characterization of municipal solid waste in three selected communities in the Tarkwa Township of Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality in Ghana

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Most municipal and metropolitan assemblies have identified disposal of solid waste as a major problem that has gotten to a stage which needs urgent workable solutions. Increase in volume of waste generated by municipal residents, change in the quality of waste composition and the treatment and disposal method of waste collected are of major concern. Change in generation rate and quality of solid waste composition in municipalities coupled with ineffective management has led to serious environmental problems. Success of solid waste management plans stems on accurate and up to date data on quality and quantity of generated solid waste. This thesis presents the characterization of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the Tarkwa Nsuaem municipality, whose population is growing by an average of 3% per annum. Extensive field investigation was used for quantification and analysis of composition of MSW in selected residential areas. Field observations, secondary data and key informant interviews were also used. Simple random sampling and analysis of solid waste from specific sources were used for waste characterization whereas house-to-house weight analysis method was used for waste quantification. It was estimated that the average per capita daily generation rate was 0.92 kg per capita per day and average daily generation rate per household of average size 4.27 persons was 3.93 kg per household per day. The dominant solid waste of the municipality was organic waste and accounts for 68.56%, followed by plastics/rubber at 16.02%, paper and cardboard at 4.87%, ash/sand at 4.15%, textiles at 3.23%, non-ferrous metal at 1.65%, glass/ceramics at 0.92%, ferrous metals at 0.31% and potentially hazardous 0.29%. Recommendations were made on how to improve effectiveness, efficiency, integration and accountability and optimize municipal solid waste management.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical & Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science.