Characterization and Composting of Solid Waste Generated in the Aburi Township

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The composition of solid waste generated by 34 households was analysed over four weeks and the waste was sorted into the following fractions; Organic waste, Glass waste, Paper and cardboard, Metals and cans, Rubber and plastic. The data gathered showed that organic waste (70%) was the most abundant waste type generated daily per household followed by Rubber and plastic (16%) then Paper and cardboard (6%), Glass waste (5%) and Metals and cans (3%). The per capita generation of waste showed organic waste in the lead with 0.072 kg/week per person followed by plastic waste with 0.016 kg/week per person then paper waste with 0.006 kg/week per person followed by glass waste with 0.005 kg/week per person and metal waste trailing with 0.004 kg/week per person. A compost pile was prepared using food waste collected from the participating households with an initial C/N ratio of 37.24±0.66; the compost was ready in 35 days. The composting process was closely monitored daily by measuring the temperature and its volume. The analysis performed on the compost after composting showed that the compost had a final C/N ratio of 83.70, pH of 8.67 and contained 0.07% potassium and 0.08% of phosphorus. The levels of potassium and phosphorus were within the recommended values of 0.5-1.8 and 0.3-3.5 respectively. The C/N ratio exceeded the acceptable level of 22. Heavy metal analysis showed the level of mercury (82.14 ±3.01 ppm) to be high above the recommended level of 82.14 ppm. But the levels of copper (2.670 ±0.537 ppm), lead (40.560 ±1.245 ppm) and zinc (0.75±0.212 ppm) were within the required limits of 80, 150 and 300 respectively. The microbiological analysis of the finished compost showed that the levels of E. coli (4.3×101) and faecal coliforms (2.4×103) were higher than recommended levels of < 3 and < 1000 respectively. The waste management plan revealed that the organic fraction of the waste was the most abundant of the five kinds of waste that were characterised. This waste type would pose a big challenge to the town in the long term (25 years) if management of the waste is not taken seriously, which would destroy the tourism potential of the town.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Environmental Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial Fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, June-2011