‘Support management of waste in households’

The Africa Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management has urged the government to support household waste management.

In an interview with the GNA, the Director of Research, Innovation and Development of the Institute, Dr Bob Offei Manteaw, reiterated the need for local government authorities to focus attention on how household waste is collected, stored and disposed.

That, according to Dr Manteaw, had become necessary as research studies conducted by the institute had shown that only five per cent of Ghanaian households used door-to-door collection processes through private service providers.

The rest of the population, he said, used unapproved methods that contribute significantly to the challenges of waste and sanitation we faced in most of our communities.

The statistics is worrying and require urgent intervention if Ghana is serious in meeting the Millennium Development Goal 7.

It is in view of this that the institute is urging the government to support private sector service providers to give free waste bins to households.

Such a move, according to Dr Manteaw, would go a long way to improve waste and sanitation management not only at the household level but also in public places.

Dr Manteaw again pointed out that the problem in most communities was that households lacked sanitary waste receptacles in the form of specially designated waste bins.

That, he said, was essentially because of the fact that waste bins were expensive and not affordable to most households. Even when families could afford it, the supply from service providers have sometimes been slow.

To get round the issue of waste bins, most households improvise by using unacceptable methods to collect and store their waste and some of these methods pose public health and safety risks.

Dr Manteaw made it clear that there was the need for urgent interventions at the household levels if we were serious about improving sanitation in our communities.

One way of doing that, he pointed out, was through the supply of free waste bins to households, and that was something the government could work on with private service providers.

Dr Manteaw believes the availability of sanitary waste bins in households can serve as an avenue for behavioural and attitudinal change.

It will also bring some organisation in the way waste is handled and disposed of, particularly at the final disposal sites.

He indicated that when people had easy access to waste bins and understood their uses, it almost logically directed their behaviour with regard to the handling of waste. He also explained that when people had the convenience of waste disposal, they would do what was right.

Dr Manteaw also emphasised the importance of awareness creation and education and made it clear that the provision of free waste bins alone might not be the solution. “People need to know, understand and be ready to use them appropriately,” he stated. 

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