Stakeholders call for concerted efforts for sustainable waste management

By Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Oct. 21, GNA – Stakeholders in the
waste management sector have called for intensive efforts to enhance
sustainable waste management.

They made the call in Accra during a
Multi-Stakeholder Forum on the theme: “Transitions towards a Circular Economy:
A Cross-National Study of Urban Solid Waste Management”.

It was organised by the SITE4Society at United
Nations University (UNU-MERIT), in collaboration with the Worldwide
Universities Network (WUN) and the Institute for Environment and Sanitation
Studies (IESS) of the University of Ghana.

Among its objectives was to share knowledge
on diverse issues in different cities to build collective insight on the nature
of possible transition pathways to a circular economy.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA),
Professor Hiroshan Hettiarachchi, Head of Waste Management Unit at UNU-FLORES,
said there was a missing link between research and the implementation of

He said universities, whether in developed
or developing countries were not doing it right, as majority conducted research
and found new methodologies, published papers and it ended it without taking
responsibilities for the spheres.

Prof Hettiarachchi said to fill the gap,
they needed to understand the socio-economic situations, with a collaboration
that called for a strict and better policy arrangement.

Dr Bertha Darteh, a Water, Sanitation and
Hygiene (WASH) Consultant, said in the area of policy coordination, there were
different ministries that had the responsibilities for waste management, but
the issue was about how to get the coordination and harmonisation of sector

She also underscored the need to resource
the waste management departments in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District
Assemblies (MMDAs) to deliver.

Dr Darteh, who underscored the need to also
discuss how to scale up some of these initiatives, added that “a lot of the
private sector are doing some work to recover waste, so how do we create the
right incentives and support to be able to scale up the kind of work that they
are doing”.

Mr Blake Robinson, Senior Professional
Officer at Local Governments for Sustainability, Africa, also told GNA that
having the infrastructure would propel people or create the environment for
people to do the right thing.

He said there were a lot of activities with
a circular economy framework, but, needed to be backed with research; however,
this was a good starting point to build more circular economies; to look at
what was already there, creating a platform to share those existing ideas.

Madam Maria Tomai, a PhD candidate at
UNU-MERIT noted that waste management was not local or national issue, but a
global one, hence, her research focused on three different cities including;

She said in her preliminary research, so
far, the main challenges identified in Accra was the behavioral change of
citizens; how could they segregate more, to stop indiscriminate littering.

She said another challenge had to do with
government, municipality and local authorities on how to provide the right
incentives, and monitor the system.

Madam Tomai presented a framework, basic
ideas about how the two challenges could be tackled in a holistic approach, and
this was centred around; information, infrastructure, incentives and

She said citizens did not have enough
environmental education, they don’t realise a problem and potential
opportunities that may arise from the problem.

Mrs Ashabrick Nantege Bamutaze, Head of
Research Unit at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, said by 2030
the rate of garbage accumulation would rise by 60 per cent and most of the
garbage was dumped without any further processing on management.

She said among the major challenges in solid
waste management were gaps in policy implementation, and lack of study
especially for international business.

She suggested that there was a need to
mainstream solid waste management in national development strategy and create
integrated campaigns from homes,“there is a need to teach what is right and
what is wrong”.