Waste management remains a challenge confronting the Municipality despite efforts so far made and certain areas are characterised by choked drains, indiscriminate waste disposal and uncollected refuse in central waste containers. Other waste also find themselves in water bodies, drainage systems and other open spaces. However, large proportions of this waste is biodegradable making decomposition quite easy.
Notable factors accounting for the waste management problem include:
• Poor conceptualization of sanitation and lack of adequate sanitary facilities
• Ignorance and irresponsibility of individuals, households and communities
• Lack of community action and springing up of unauthorized temporary structures
• Continuously increasing number of squatters
• Lack of regular budgetary allocation for sanitation and virtual absence of fee based service provision in low income areas
Overview of Waste Collection
The Municipality currently operates a waste management system with the following key elements:
• Door-to-door service which attracts service fees and prominent in affluent and well layout areas, but communal container service common in low income areas attracts no fees from beneficiaries.
• Service providers are paid directly by beneficiaries for door-to-door service through a franchise arrangement by the Assembly while contracting for communal service collection is common in low income areas.
• Disposal of waste attracts a fee per month for waste from door-to-door service
but nothing for waste from communal container service
• All waste collected are sent to semi-controlled landfill sites within the
Municipality known as the Teshie Compost Plant or Fertilser Factory.
• Little recycling of plastics and polyethylene occurs with private recycling
Problems with current Waste Management System
The current system is not sustainable due to the non-payment for communal container service, which is estimated to constitute over 80% of service cost. A situation that has resulted in high financial burden for the Assembly. Other problems such as irregular payment of service providers, non-performance by service providers, etc. are all related to financial constraints of the LEKMA. The table below shows the basic information about waste management in the Municipality.
House to House refuse collection is contracted to both DABEN and Zoomlion at well laid out areas, institutions and industries at Teshie and Nungua
System in place for liquid waste management for Teshie and Nungua:
• Pan Latrines-underground holding tanks managed by Daben.
• Private and public toilets-WC/STL/KVIPS
• Sewerage System: Not functioning properly.
Waste management is done jointly by the Municipality and Zoom Lion Company which is a private firm involved in waste management. The company engages youth in wastement as part of their waste management module and collaborates with the Assembly in the performance of
the following funtions;
• Street Cleansing
• Refuse Evacuation
• Cesspit Servces
• House to house Refuse collection.
The major challenge is however the weak monitoring by the Assembly in the performance of the functions of Zoomlion. Notwithstanding this challenge, waste collection is encouraging since between February and August 2008, waste collection increased from 392.35 tonnes to 606.75 tonnes indicating a 53% increase. There is however more room for improvement.
A key issue worth mentioning is the decommissioning of the Teshie Compost Plant in recent times due to:
1. breakdown of the plant results in negative environmental impact through waste accumulation.
2. the Plant which originally had no settlement in its vicinity, is now within the developed Teshie-Nungua Community which complains about the odour of non composted waste. Such a situation has reason due to weak enforcement of planning schemes in the past.
The area is now expected to be developed into a recreational area.
Laws governing environmental practice
There are elaborate laws governing environmental managements such as:
National Environmental Sanitation Policy, 1999
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Law
the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462)
District Environmental Management Plan
These laws are not usually effective on the ground because of:
Ineffective monitory and supervision units mandated to handle environmental issues which leads to compromise by those who are expected to ensure compliance of the law
Apathy of the public.
Methods of Refuse Disposal
Data collected from the field indicates that four key methods were available for the various houses in the Municipality to dispose of refuse. These include House to House Collection, Communal Collection, Crude Dumping and Burning. In general it was realized that out of 7,271 houses in the Municipality, majority of houses (43%) patronized the Communal Collection System followed by House to House Collection (36%) and Burning (17%). The least used method or refuse disposal was crude dumping which constitutes 3% of responses. It is however worth noting that crude dumping and burning which together make up 20% of cases are considered as illegal waste disposal methods due to the negative environmental impacts associated with these methods. This implies that efforts should be made to discourage such practices. In view of scarcity of land and the increasing population growth in the Municipality measures should also be taken to ensure that more houses join the house to house collection system in line with contemporary trends in solid waste management.
Apart from the general observations on the Municipal level, the analysis was extended to cover specific localities to identify unique issues that may emerge in such localities. In this regard two communities with varying characteristics were chosen from each electoral area.
House to House Collection System is not popular in communities such as Sangonaa, Klorsai and Amanfa which recorded less than 5% coverage. In the cases of Teshie Camp 2 and Odikoman the system was non existent. These communities however demonstrated high patronage of the communal container system with percentages ranging between 52% and 92%. The Municipality should therefore target such communities to introduce the door to door collection system.
It was further discovered among the selected communities that apart from Martey Tsuru, Camp 2 and Odikoman where there was no record of crude dumping all the other communities recorded cases of crude dumping with percentages ranging between 1% and 7%. Burning of refuse was also observed to be present in all communities with Sangonaa and Martey Tsuru
both recording the highest level of 38%. Appropriate policies should therefore be developed by the Assembly to discourage such negative waste disposal methods.
The field survey also focused on the type of toilets available in the communities to ascertain their adequacy and nature.
It was revealed that a total of 8,671 private toilets were available in 7,267 residential facilities in the Municipality and the categorization are as shown in the table below with the WC recording the highest use of 66% while the STL recorded 1% as the least used private toilet.
The common use of other types of toilet apart from the WC such as KVIP, STL, Pan Latrines etc which covers 34% of private toilets is a reflection of the perennial water problem confronting the Municipality because these facilities require minimum amounts of water to operate. This calls for a strong synergy to be created between the agencies that provide water and the Assembly to encourage community members to use more WCs as private toilets. It is also worth noting that in this modern era and also the urbanised nature of the Municipality it is unacceptable that 1,061 (12%) of houses use pan latrines and 308 houses (4%) use pit latrines as private toilets. This is in view of adverse environmental and health effects to the communities concerned.
The table below shows the various types of private toilets in selected communities. It can be inferred that as much as 79% of private toilets in Adoemi are pan latrines while 16% of the private toilets in Zongo are pit latrines. As mentioned earlier these figures are unacceptable in view of the urbanized nature of the Municipality. It is expected that such communities shall be targeted in any intervention initiated by the Assembly or other stakeholders to ensure a more appropriate provision of toilet facilities.
Apart from the individual townships, the various domestic environments classified under indigenous, estate, newly developing and shared afacilities to identify unique features that may occur.
It was appreciated through table 13 that although an appreciable number of water closets were recorded throughout the Municipality, the use of pan latrines is also on the high side. For instance 1061 cases were identified with majority (827) of them found in indigenous areas. This indicates that a substantial number of people are still using such outmoded toilets and efforts should be undertaken to abolish it. A few pit latrines were also observed in affluent areas such as the estates and this calls for appropriate interventionary measures since this does not augur well for effective city management.
Apart from private toilets, the survey also covered the types and number of public toilets in the Municipality and it was revealed that there are a total of 54 public toilets in the various communities. These were usually found in low income high density areas where private toilets were in the minority. while the more Acceptable WC s were only 18%. This once again underscores the need for the Assembly to initiate measures to modernize the public toilets to reflect modern trends. This point is being made in view of the fact that such toilets are constructed primarily for the use of visitors and therefore the more modern they are the better the image of the Assembly.
In reality however, It is appreciated that the public toilets are utilized mostly by large sections of deprived communities where private toilets are not very common thereby placing severe pressure on the toilets. Most of them are therefore in very poor shape and therefore the need for enforcement of building regulations and comprehensive programmes for household toilets can therefore not be overemphasized.
Certain low income communities without public toilets were also identified in the survey as shown in the table below to guide future policies of the Assembly.
Toilet Facilities in Non Residential Areas
In other to appreciate the adequacy of toilet provision at other areas in the Municipality apart from residential the exercise was extended to cover other aspects of the municipal economy such as markets, lorry stations, hotels etc.
With respect to markets and lorry stations it was realized that the situation was nothing to write home about since only 3 units of WC and 1 KVIP were available in a total of 5 markets while only 4 units of WC and 1 KVIP were available in 11 Lorry stations. The large numbers of people that patronise these two facilities calls for an improvement in the number of toilet facilities there.
In the same way it was also appreciated that given the large numbers of school children and teachers in the Municipality, 335 WC Units for 304 schools is not only considered woefully inadequate but the use of KVIPs, Pit Latrines and VIP is also unacceptable and should be discouraged .
Bath Houses and Sullage Disposal
The types of bath house available in the Municipality as well as the Sullage disposal methods being practiced to ascertain the sanitation end environmental issues that may emerge. It was realized that four categories of bath
houses were in use in the various communities. These include those who have their bath houses inside their house, outside their house, shared by few houses and fourthly those who use public bath houses. Apart from the first category which is common in affluent areas such as Teshie Nungua and Greda Estates, the other categories are very common in some middle income and virtually all low income communities.
Approximately 96% of houses had bath houses for their exclusive use (ie inside the house and within the compound outside the house while less than 1% of the community patronized public bath houses. The problem relates to the fact that 316 houses (3.1%) recorded that they share bath houses. The inconvenience associated with this arrangement should be discouraged as a matter of priority for the Assembly.
A comparative analysis made on the type of bath houses and method of sullage disposal showed that houses that had bathrooms within the house and outside the house were in the majority with approximately 96% of responses. This is indicative that most houses have convenient access to their bath houses. Further analysis also reveals that those using conventional or acceptable methods of sullage disposal; sewer and soak pit constitutes 2.7% and 65.5% respectively amounting to an approximate 68% of responses. The unconventional sullage disposal methods practiced in the various communities therefore constitute 31.8% ie gutters (14.5%), ditches (3.2%) and vacant plots etc (14.1%). It is therefore inferred that although majority of houses (96%) have convenient access to their houses as much as 31.8% of them dispose of sullage illegally and this therefore calls for pragmatic approaches to manage sullage generated in the variouses houses.
The low patronage of the sewer system is reflective of the fact that Teshie Nungua Estates, a well laid out middle income settlement, is the only settlement in the Municipality that has a sewer network. Most houses are therefore compelled to utilize the next alternative of using the soak pit method which also has long term adverse environmental effects of polluting the water table in various communities. The large percentages of unacceptable sullage disposal methods such as gutters, ditches and vacant plots should also be a matter of concern in view of the insanitary conditions associated with the practice, especially in low income communities.
The situation in respect of specific communities with regards to bath houses and sullage disposal was also ascertained in order to ensure effective targeting of the communities in interventions that may be developed to address sanitation issues.
Teshie Nungua Estates is the only community connected to the Municipal Sewer System with 84% of respondents indicating that they used the sewer system. Conversely Adjorman, another well planned middle income area not connected to the sewer system has as much as 58 % of respondents saying that they use the soak pit system as an alternative. The Zongo area also recorded a majority 96% using the soak pit system although.
Notwithstanding the high patronage of the soak pit system in most communities, almost all communities responded that some houses used illegal methods of sullage disposal. For example, 71% the Authority community of the Nii Larweh Electoral area recorded an unacceptable figure of 71% for those who used vacant plots, bushes, open spaces etc to dispose of sullage .
The various dumping sites assessed at the school, industrial and public (community) level showed that 67%, 36% and 46% of public, school and industrial dumping sites respectively are unapproved for refuse disposal. These are alarming figures that have very adverse implication for residents of the Municipality. For instance apart from the problem at the community level, 36% of illegal dumping sites on school compounds is also indicative of the fact that a large section of adjoining communities to schools illegally dump refuse on school compounds thereby endangering the health of teachers and school children as well as the neighbouring communities themselves. The negative environmental impacts associated with illegal dumping of industrial waste can also not be ignored if the Municipality is to make any headway in environmental management.
Table 40 overleaf shows that communities such as Teshie Nungua Estates, Sangonaa and Kwashie Man are a few examples of communities where there are illegal dumping sites while Antwere Gonno and Coco beach area also provide good examples of places where portions of school sites are used as dumping grounds.
Table:41 Selected Communities with Approved or Unapproved Dumping Sites
d)Sources of Water
The field exercise showed that although water provision or supply is not very adequate throughout the Municipality it was realized that the quality was good with 99.88% of houses mentioning that they got access to pipe born water or from tanker supply.
A few communities such as Penny, Odikoman, Teshie Nungua Estates and Nkpor however showed isolated cases of less than 1% where the members relied on boreholes. The use of ponds or streams as sources of water were absent and It can therefore be inferred that in general water quality is good but measures should be taken to improve supply.
Slaughter Facilities and Meat Shops
The survey also assessed issues pertaining to the way meat is handling in view of the health implications and it was realized that no slaughter slabs exist in the Municipality and this has compelled people to slaughter animals along the beaches of the Municipality. such a situation has further aggravated the already poor environmental situations in such areas.
In terms of the meat shops the survey revealed that out of a total of eight meat shops in the Municipality as much as 62.5% operated under unhygienic conditions and examples of these were seen in Zongo, Authority, Nkpor and Okpoigonno. Measures should therefore be undertaken to improve the unhygienic conditions at the meat shops located in these communities.