DEVELOPING A SUSTAINABLE MODEL FOR URBAN ORGANIC WASTE IN GHANA (Case Study: Ho Township, Ghana) ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS
Biowaste is an indispensable part of urban areas and contributes immensely to socio-economic development depending on how it is looked at. In today’s world, some three billion people, primarily in the developing countries, continue to struggle with their energy needs. In addition to struggling with energy needs, some of these developing countries do not have sufficient fertilisers for crop production. Urban organic waste produced in these areas poses environmental, social, economic and public health issues.
The bio-waste utilisation in the developing countries can play a major role in fulfilling the demands of the developing countries. Ghana being an agricultural country has a tremendous potential to utilise urban bio-waste for agricultural use as well.
The aim of this thesis was to find ways of utilising the organic fraction of waste in the Ho township. The participation of the Ho Municipality in the North South Local Government cooperation with the city of Lahti in Finland makes this thesis very feasible for future implementation.
In addition to Urine Diverting Dry Toilet (UDDT) pilots in the municipality, this thesis will serve as a good basis to initiate a pilot for the utilization of the urban organic waste generated especially in the light of the ongoing projects in the municipality. It seeks to highlight the present status of waste management in the Ho township, the challenges, the potential of the technology to use for biowaste utilisation, and advocates further research.
Key words: Biowaste, Energy, Organic Fertiliser, Ghana
According to UNEP (2009), 140 billion metric tons of biomass are generated every year from agricultural and industrial activities worldwide. About 1.3 billion people worldwide either have no access to electricity or rely on the use of non-commercial fuels (IAEA 2009). On the other hand, they suffer the various effects of environmental problems caused by improper waste management. This is most often a problem for developing countries where there may be a lack of adequate waste management, recycling systems and regulating environmental policies.
Uncontrolled waste and wastewater disposal can cause severe problems for health and the environment. Rotten organic biowaste is often disposed off in unsecured open landfills where it emits methane and leachate. When the waste is incinerated in common open fire small-scale incinerations, it generates high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) which contribute to climate change, water and soil contamination and air pollution (Green Choices 2016).
The degradation of this organic biomass may, however, be used to provide energy with the use of standard and appropriate technologies. The organic fractions of domestic wastes from cities can be valuable energy sources.
Organic waste like fecal sludge can be converted to energy and fertilisers using modern treatment technologies. However, the potential for converting the organic domestic waste into bio-energy in developing countries has been inadequately studied and adopted (AETS Consortium, 2013).
Population growth, rural urban migration and industrialization cause a growing generation of urban solid and liquid waste which further complicate conservation plans and waste management. The urban waste generated possesses high value with respect to material and energy recovery. It consists of recyclable material (such as paper, glass, bottles), composite wastes such as textiles and plastics as well as biomass. Biomass is a renewable resource that causes problems when not used. The challenge, therefore, is to utilise biomass as a resource for productive uses (UNEP 2009).