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Ampofo, S., Kumi, E., & Ampadu, B. (2015). Investigating solid waste management in the Bolgatanga municipality of the Upper East region, Ghana. Environment and Pollution, 4(3).

  • C. K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences
  • C. K. Tedem University of Technology. and Applied Sciences Navrongo, Ghana

Abstract and Figures

Management of domestic solid waste is one of the challenges facing many metropolitan municipal and district Assemblies in Ghana because uncollected and improperly disposed waste results in the clogging of most public areas, streets, and gutters and has a grave implications on health. In the Bolgatanga municipality, as a result of increasing urban population, a high consumption and disposal lifestyle that has no need for reuse, negative attitude by individuals and households in the handling of waste and the inadequate financial and logistical requirements on the part of the local authorities to combat this menace has had a negative impact on waste management in the municipality. This research conducts a social survey in five (5) major settlements in the municipality namely; Bolgatanga town, Zuarungu, Yikene, Sumburungu and Tindonsobligo to ascertain attitudes in waste management, perceptions on the value and reuse of waste and the management of waste at the household and local levels. Also we determined the rates and trend in increase of population and waste levels for the municipality at a four (4) year interval for the years; 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009 and measure the strength of association using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. The study revealed that the most predominant waste disposal is the communal disposal at sites normally not approved in the peri-urban communities. This is followed by the door-to-door services which was prevalent in the urban residential areas. Despite the dominant nature of communal skips and door-to-door services mostly in the Bolgatanga community, inhabitants still practice improper disposal from disposal in nearby bush to open dumps due to lack of enforcement of regulatory policies and programmes irrespective of income levels. These problems are compounded by inadequate proper storage receptacles, unavailability of community storage receptacles and the long distance of travel for disposal of household waste which discourages dumping at common and approved sites. For the period under consideration (1993-2009), the population for the municipality increased from 188,690 to 295,333 representing an increase of 36%, while waste generated increased from 46,015 to 101, 823 tons, an increase by 55% which results in an average per capita waste generation (kg/person/daily) of 0.70 kilogrammes for the period under consideration. The Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (r) between population and waste generated in the municipality revealed a high and a strong association of 0.88 which confirms the distribution of communal skips by the municipal assembly with concentration in high population urban zones within the Bolgatanga town.
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Environment and Pollution; Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
ISSN 1927-0909 E-ISSN 1927-0917
Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education
Investigating Solid Waste Management in the Bolgatanga
Municipality of the Upper East Region, Ghana
Steve Ampofo1, Evans Kumi1 & Boateng Ampadu1
1 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University for Development Studies (UDS), Navrongo,
Correspondence: Steve Ampofo, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University for Development
Studies (UDS), P. O. Box 24, Navrongo, Upper East Region, Ghana. E-mail:
Received: March 29, 2015 Accepted: April 22, 2015 Online Published: June 28, 2015
doi:10.5539/ep.v4n3p27 URL:
Management of domestic solid waste is one of the challenges facing many metropolitan municipal and district
Assemblies in Ghana because uncollected and improperly disposed waste results in the clogging of most public
areas, streets, and gutters and has a grave implications on health. In the Bolgatanga municipality, as a result of
increasing urban population, a high consumption and disposal lifestyle that has no need for reuse, negative
attitude by individuals and households in the handling of waste and the inadequate financial and logistical
requirements on the part of the local authorities to combat this menace has had a negative impact on waste
management in the municipality. This research conducts a social survey in five (5) major settlements in the
municipality namely; Bolgatanga town, Zuarungu, Yikene, Sumburungu and Tindonsobligo to ascertain attitudes
in waste management, perceptions on the value and reuse of waste and the management of waste at the
household and local levels. Also we determined the rates and trend in increase of population and waste levels for
the municipality at a four (4) year interval for the years; 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009 and measure the
strength of association using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. The study revealed that the
most predominant waste disposal is the communal disposal at sites normally not approved in the peri-urban
communities. This is followed by the door-to-door services which was prevalent in the urban residential areas.
Despite the dominant nature of communal skips and door-to-door services mostly in the Bolgatanga community,
inhabitants still practice improper disposal from disposal in nearby bush to open dumps due to lack of
enforcement of regulatory policies and programmes irrespective of income levels. These problems are
compounded by inadequate proper storage receptacles, unavailability of community storage receptacles and the
long distance of travel for disposal of household waste which discourages dumping at common and approved
sites. For the period under consideration (1993-2009), the population for the municipality increased from
188,690 to 295,333 representing an increase of 36%, while waste generated increased from 46,015 to 101, 823
tons, an increase by 55% which results in an average per capita waste generation (kg/person/daily) of 0.70
kilogrammes for the period under consideration. The Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (r)
between population and waste generated in the municipality revealed a high and a strong association of 0.88
which confirms the distribution of communal skips by the municipal assembly with concentration in high
population urban zones within the Bolgatanga town.
Keywords: solid waste, storage receptacles, municipality, household, sanitary site
1. Introduction
Human endeavours at various level and forms are interactions with the natural environment which results in
changes that affect the natural equilibrium. One of such endeavours is the daily activities of humans in order to
obtain their basic needs and nutritional requirements to sustain a healthy life which generate a lot of unwanted
materials. These unwanted materials loosely referred to as waste are by-products of the processes of exploiting
the natural resources of the earth and converting them into finished goods. The left-over that results from
consumption at the individual, household and community levels are classified as solid and liquid waste. Solid
wastes are the by-products of human activities which include the processes of preparation, manufacture, packing,
repacking, unpacking, construction and renovation of structures. Solid wastes fall under the following classes:
domestic wastes, industrial wastes, street wastes, commercial wastes and hospital wastes (Otchere et. al., 2014). Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
They are materials that have no further apparent use for the owner or industrial process because they are deemed
to be useless, unwanted or discarded but are not liquid or gas (Notaro, 2000; Miller, 1999)
Due to the rapid increase in population, migration from rural areas to urban areas and the expansion in industries,
much pressure has been placed on solid waste management and the task of solid waste management has become
challenging for Municipal Administrators in most developing countries. Volumes of solid waste in towns will
run in millions of tons and would accumulate if no proper management schemes are put in place to collect them
(Songsore & McGranahan, 1993). Assessing the benefits and costs of various solid waste management policies
and projects is complex because it involves numerous, interconnected, economic, social, and biological
components. The barriers to effective Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management is not simply lack of policy
but lack of infrastructure, education, social awareness of problems and solutions, and lack of institutions
promoting sustainable actions (Barret & Sue, 2001).
Urban solid waste and sanitation management is a matter of grave concern to most Metropolitan, Municipal and
District Assemblies in Ghana. The challenge in waste management emanates from the various levels of handling
waste from the individual, household and community levels (Puopiel, 2010; Otchere et al., 2014; Puopiel &
Owusu-Ansah, 2014). Among the plethora of reasons that are attributable to this menace are passive attitude
towards waste disposal, low level of enforcement of bye-laws, lack of financial resources and the absence of the
technical capacity to manage waste (Mariwah, 2012; Asamaa, 2007).
In Ghana, the two major cities of Accra and Kumasi with a population of more than 1,000,000 have an estimated
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generation rate of (kg/capita/day) 0.40 (2003) for Accra and 0.60 (2009) for
Accra and Kumasi, respectively (World Bank, 2013). This does not contrast sharply from the national average
generation rate of 0.45 (GIM, 2009) which translates into an estimated total MSW generated (kg/day) of about
10,800,000 for the country which gives a total waste generated (tons/day) of 10,800.
The shortfall in the unaccounted waste represents solid waste which does not end up at landfill sites and clogs
communities as heaps burnt day and night. The other component that is accounted for also represents the
challenge of efficient transportation and disposal with almost no-existent well engineered disposal site (World
Bank, 2013). Buttressing the above point is the fact that, as low as 15% of total waste generated in the
municipality is collected for disposal, of which 4.5% is solid waste collected from households (Ghana Statistical
Service, 2000). This raises an alarm as to what happens to the large volumes of unrecovered solid waste and how
it is handled at the household level. This problem necessitates a study for immediate solution.
Poor waste management particularly with regards to waste disposal creates serious issues of environmental
contamination of water and soil, air pollution from waste burning, sanitation and hygiene challenges which go a
long way to pose serious environmental health risk and aesthetic burdens (Attipoe, 1996). There are no proper
solid domestic waste management practices in some urban areas in Ghana and Bolgatanga municipality is no
exception. People deliberately ignore dump sites dotted in the communities and throw solid waste into the open
spaces and gutters. Some people regrettably defecate into polyethylene bags and leave them as litter in the
environment. Flies are attracted to them and may spread pathogens. Health and social side effects are equally as
important as environmental impacts when considering Municipal Solid Waste Management (Gladding, 2002).
The prime objective of this study is to assess the challenges with the management of solid waste at the household
and municipal level, within the Bolgatanga municipality in the Upper East region of Ghana. The specific
objectives are; a) to review the methods used to collect, transport and dispose of domestic solid waste b) to
identify the factors contributing to improper domestic solid waste management c) to ascertain public perception
on the consequences of improper domestic solid waste management and d) to determine trends and relationship
between population and domestic solid waste generation.
2. Methods
2.1 Study Area
Bolgatanga Municipality is located centrally within the Upper East Region (Figure 1), and Bolgatanga the capital
of the municipality is also the Regional capital. The location of the municipality and its capital in the centre of
other adjoining district makes it the hub of the road transportation network in the region. The municipality is
bordered to the North by the Bongo District, South and East by Talensi and Nabdam District and
Kassena-Nankana District(s) to the West. The Bolgatanga Municipality was established by Legislative
Instrument (LI 1797) in the year 2004. Before this period the Talensi-Nabdam district was part of the then
Bolgatanga District. Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
Figure 1. Map of the Upper East region showing the location of the study area Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
The municipality has a population of about 228,815 with a sex ratio of 48.7 male to 51.3 females and a population
density of about 155 persons per km2 over a land area of 1479 km2. The Frafra’s constitute the majority group of
about 83.8% and the remainder being the other migrant tribes. There are 39,655 households, 20,416 houses with an
average household size of 5.8 and household per house of 1.9. The municipality receives about 37% of the regions
share of both migrants within and outside the region (Ghana Statistical Service, 2000). Agriculture and animal
husbandry are the main economic activity and it engages about 80% of the population. The main agricultural
produce are cereals like millet, guinea-corn, maize, groundnut, beans, sorghum and vegetables like tomatoes, and
onions. Other prominent economic activities in the municipality include craft works such as basket weaving and
leather works.
Figure 2. Map of the Ghana showing the the Upper East region
2.2 Data Sets and Characteristics
Data sets used for this research is shown in Table 1. These include population estimates and projections for dates
between inter-censal periods, solid waste statistics from local government agencies and private sector actors,
field study surveys for location of communal sanitary sites and household survey.
The population data for determining the population sizes of the municipality and subsequent projections were
derived from the Population Census Report of Ghana by the Ghana Statistical Service (G.S.S.), for 1960, 1970,
1984 and 2000. However, projections were needed for this study, since actual collection of solid waste
commenced in 1993 in the municipality. The following projected years have been considered as the basis for
projection in the study (1993, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009).
The inter-censal growth rate (r) between 1984 and 2000 was estimated by using the model given by Cudjoe
(2005a) as: Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
r = ln (P2/P1)1/t * k (1)
1 is the Population of the initial census year
2 Population of the latter census year
t Time interval and
K is a constant
The population projection for the years 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009 was estimated by using the equation
given by Cudjoe (2005a) as:
x = Py *
etr (2)
Px is the projected population for the year X
Py Census population for year y and
etr is the time interval as a factor of growth rate
The volume of solid waste in tons collected for disposal by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit of the
Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly corresponding to the projected years shown in the parenthesis (1993, 1997,
2001, 2005 and 2009) have been used alongside the projected population in determining trends and relationships.
Geographic coordinates of all sanitary sites in the municipality were taken using a Global Positioning System
receiver (GPS) at an accuracy of ±10m. The raw data was processed into a map using ArcGIS 9.3® by ESRI©.
The map was then superimposed on the municipal map to show the distribution of sanitary sites and also the
location of the final disposal site at Sherigu.
Table 1. Data sets and characteristics
S/N Data sets Type of
Years (s) Application Source
1 Population Secondary 1993, 1997, 2001,
2005 & 2009
Trend and correlation
2 Solid waste Secondary 1993, 1997, 2001,
2005 & 2009
Trend and correlation
3 Spatial data Primary May, 2011 Distribution of communal
sanitary sites
Field survey
4 Household
Primary May, 2011 Measure of perception and
Field survey
2.3 Social Survey
A social survey was undertaken to understand waste management at the local level in terms of attitudes,
resources available and challenges. This was done using a structured questionnaire with both closed and
open-ends. The survey was undertaken among households heads in the five (5) main electoral and local council
zones consisting of; Bolgatanga, Zuarungu, Sumburungu, Yikene and Tindonsobligo. The study variables
included population, types of receptacles for waste, frequency of disposal, distance of refuse dump, availability
of community storage receptacles, disposal methods and methods of waste transport, attitude and behaviour
towards sanitation and land for dump site as the independent variables and methods of solid domestic waste
management being the dependent variable.
2.4 Sampling
The sample size for the study was estimated by using the statistical formula for sample size determination by
Puopiel (2010) which is given as follows: Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
n=N/[1+N(α)2] (3)
where n is the sample size and N the sample frame and α represent the margin of error.
In this study using a margin of error of 0.01 with a 90% confidence level and sample frame of 14,138 households,
hundred (100) households was estimated as the sample size for the socio-economic survey. Sample size selected
using this statistical approach ensured minimisation of errors in the data collection (Puopiel, 2010). The
estimated sample size was distributed among five selected communities. The selection of the five (5)
communities in the district was done purposively because they represented the main suburbs (local councils) in
the municipality whilst the selection of households for the survey was done randomly among the heads of
households. The 100 households sample size was further broken down into a proportional representation of the
communities based on their population estimates for the year of the research which provided a factor
0.0071(100/14,138 = 0.0071) per household in each community. Results from the socio-economic survey, based
on the sampled population were generalized to give a fair representation of the municipality (Table 2).
Based on the number of sampling units in the communities (Table 2); sixty-one (61) households were selected
from the Bolgatanga community, seventeen (17) households from the Zuarungu, thirteen (13) from the
Sumburungu, five (5) from the Yikene community and four (4) from Tindonsobligo, by simple random
probability sampling, based on a sample fraction.
Table 2. Data sets and characteristics
Communities Population Households Sampling Sample size
BOLGATANGA 49,162 8,520 8,520 x (0.0071) 61
ZUARUNGU 14,167 2,455 2,455 x (0.0071) 17
SUMBURUNGU 10,895 1,888 1,888 x (0.0071) 13
YIKENE 4,134 716 716 x (0.0071) 5
TINDONSOBLIGO 3,228 559 559 x (0.0071) 4
TOTAL 81,586 14,138 14,138 x(0.0071) 100
2.5 Data Analysis
Data acquired in the study was processed in a computerised system using the Statistical Package for the Social
Sciences (SPSS) version 17. This provided a means of deriving useful inferences and summaries of the
respondents to the questionnaires with regards to preferences of households, resources, attitudes and perceptions
and aggregations representing community position. ArcGIS 9.3© by ESRI® was used for mapping of the
location of sanitary sites to show the spatial distribution pattern and was also used to produce a map of the study
Statistical analysis of the data on waste and population was done using Microsoft® Excel 2007. This allowed for
the determination of trend and pattern of population growth and waste generation within the Bolgatanga
Municipality. Additionally, Pearson’s Product-Moment correlation coefficient was used to measure the strength
of association and whether the association is positive or negative.
3. Results and Discussion
3.1 Demographic Characteristics
Social characteristics of the respondents who were mostly household heads indicated a mixed of variation based
on sex, education and religion. There was a 100% response rate, as all the respondents turned in their completed
response with an average age of the respondents being 49.5 years. The minimum age was 22 years and the
maximum 90 years. Eight percent (8%) of the respondents had no formal schooling at all and 10% had Primary
education. Middle school Form 4 and Junior High School had the highest percentage of 37%.
Thirty-one percent (31%) went through Secondary/Vocational/Technical institutions with 14% having had
tertiary education. Forty-eight percent (48%) were government employees, 35% had private employment and
17% were unemployed. Majority had average income (63%) and 37% had low income. None of them recorded
receiving high income. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the respondents were married and 17% were single. Four
percent (4%) and 2% were divorced and separated, respectively. Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
3.2 Solid Waste Disposal Methods in Households
About 28% of the households practiced door-to-door collection method; this was recorded from almost all the
communities except Tindonsobligo. Bigger containers for refuse are placed by certain selected houses and refuse
from individual houses in the catchment area are sent into these containers. Paid staff (ZoomLion employees)
transport and dispose of the waste at the refuse dump. Collection and transport by communal skip was recorded
by 38% of households, this came mostly from respondents in Bolgatanga, where individual household wastes are
carried directly to larger community storage receptacles for onward transmission to the dump site by paid
workers. About 17% respondents used the wheelbarrow to transport their waste to the dump site (Open dumps in
the community), this method got admirers from all the communities. Additionally, 17% used other methods such
as sending their waste to a nearby bush or the farm using head pans, this practise was recorded by most
respondents from Tindonsobligo, Sumburungu and Zuarungu with very few from Bolgatanga and Yikene.
The factor identified for contributing to improper domestic solid waste management is the inadequacy of
information on proper solid waste disposal. Other paramount factors as listed below were considered and
analysed using Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient (p). No significance was seen between income
level and types of domestic waste disposal practices. The level of use of community waste storage receptacles
was very low for all the other four communities but was marginally high in Bolgatanga, the administrative seat
because of the predominant influence of Zoomlion Ghana Ltd a private sector actor which has a higher operation
presence. It was observed that majority of the respondents lived closer (less than 100 metres) to the community
disposal sites and they practiced proper dumping as against those that lived farther away (more than 250 metres).
On the whole there was no Significance between distance to dump site and the type of dumping practiced by
households, proper or otherwise (p =0.148)
The main type of receptacle used by households was plastic bins without cover (37%). About 35% used plastic
bins with covers mostly those provided by Zoomlion Ghana Ltd. and self acquired bins and 14% used others
such as truncated open containers, boxes, buckets etc. Old baskets without lids had 9% and those with lids had
5%, respectively. Of all the factors that were considered as affecting waste disposal methods and efficiency,
frequency of disposal was the least ranked.
A total of 36% of households had no use for waste generated, with Bolgatanga recording the highest of 29%
(Figure 2). However, 26% of households had agricultural uses such as application of compost made from
groundnuts and soya bean shells, animal waste (e.g. Cow dung) and ashes as either a natural fertilizer or soil
conditioner; this was recorded highly in Zuarungu, Sumburungu and Tindonsobligo. Some households derived
their fuel needs in terms of cooking, from stalks of millet, maize, and guinea corn; this represented 9% of total
response. A similar 9% was recorded for revenue generated from the sale of empty bottles and other containers.
Other uses including bottles for refrigeration of water, bigger containers for water storage was recorded by 20%
of households.
Figure 3. Uses of solid domestic waste
With regards to domestic solid waste disposal methods, twenty-four (24) households corresponding to 24%
disposed off their refuse on their farmlands with 21% at the dump site. Some 33% and 22% dispose waste into Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
nearby bush and gutters, respectively. Seventy-three percent (73%) of the households recorded non-availability
of land for dump site. The remaining 27% had land for dump site. Basically, the concerns of households on
improper waste management were its effect on health and environment, irrespective of method of disposal in the
community. In all, it was a mix expression of the two effects as respondents were not tied to a specific option.
By ranking households views, health was the most important issue of concern followed by environmental
3.3 Population Increase and Waste Management
The incidence of population change was considered solely under growth rate excluding the effects of net
migration. The period 1960-1970, and 1970-1984 and 1984-2000 experienced a national growth rate of a 2.9, 1.9,
and 1.7%, respectively (Ampofo, 2008). These growth rates for the country for various periods have been the
basis for making projections for population of the study area. The inter-censal growth rate for the municipality
was calculated as 2.8%.
For the period under consideration there was a steady rise in the population of the study area, rising from a figure
of 188,690 in the year 1993 to 295,333 in the year 2009 representing an increase of about 57% in a period of 16
years. Between the years 1993-1997, 1997-2001, 2001-2005 and 2005-2009 the population increased at a
constant rate of 12% for each four year interval. Figure 3 shows the projected population for the study.
Table 3. Population, waste generated and per capita waste
Year Population Waste generated
Per Capita waste
Per capita waste
1993 188,690 46,015 0.24 0.67
1997 211,052 51,468 0.24 0.67
2001 236,064 50,764 0.22 0.59
2005 264,041 60,410 0.23 0.63
2009 295,333 101,823 0.34 0.94
1993 1997 2001 2005 2009
Figure 4. Trend in population 1993-2009
The collection of solid waste in the municipality commenced in 1993 (Source: Environmental Health and
Sanitation Unit, Bolga Municipal Assembly (B.M.A), with the introduction of few communal skips dotted at
strategic points. That year, the authorities recorded 46,015tons of waste collected. Four years afterwards between
the years 1993-1997, the volume of waste collected increased appreciably to 51,468 tons representing 12% Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
increment (Figure 4). There was a dip in collection by 704 tons (1.37%) in 2001 attributable to increases in fees
charged for disposal within residential areas as people resorted to burning of waste where possible. Figure 4
indicates that a remarkable volume of 101,823 tons was recorded in 2009 about twice the size of the value of
2001 representing 68.6% increase.
Figure 4. Trend in solid waste collection
3.4 Relationship between Population Increase and Solid Waste Generation
Figure 5 shows that there was a strong positive correlation between population and volume of solid waste
collected. This was made clear by a Pearson’s correlation (r) of value 0.889.
The derived regression model was used in making predictions by simply substituting any of the variables and
this was applied as in Cudjoe (2006) in the following estimations for the study year 2011. Per capita waste
generated per person in the municipality was estimated at 4.2 tons/person/year, but per capita waste per
household was estimated from Ghana Statistical Service (2000) and Cudjoe (2006), by simple proportion to give
24.1tons/household/year. The total volume of solid waste collected was put at 7.5% out of 1,306,240 tons of
waste generated, compared to the national average of 4.5% (Ghana Statistical Service, 2000). With a coefficient
of determination of 0.792, suggesting much of the variation in volume of solid waste collected was associated
with population, thus 79.2% of the variation in the volume of solid waste generated was accounted for by
Figure 5. Correlation between population and solid waste collection
3.5 Distribution of Sanitary Sites
Sanitary sites are generally open spaces in communities which are used as dumping sites. They are sometimes
provided with large metallic containers (communal skips) as receptacles for waste collection and transportation Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
periodically, while sometimes they are just open dumping areas (Figure 6). Sanitary sites are usually the sites
where public toilets are located in communities where there are no toilet facilities in the houses. They are useful
points in assessing the efficiency of waste management in the municipality as it indicates the frequency of waste
disposal, level of waste disposal by households, rates of collection by municipal authorities. It is also useful in
the determination of the efficiency of the management system in place as it relates to the number of sites
available and the population of a community and waste generated.
Figure 6. Sanitary sites - An open dump and communal skip
Geographic coordinates of thirty-six (36) Communal skips and five (5) open dumps were taken from sixteen (16)
suburbs within the Bolgatanga municipality, these represented a total of 41 sanitary sites. Out of the total number
of skips, thirty-three (33) were located in Bolgatanga township, with two (2) in Soe and one (1) in Sumburungu.
There is a final waste disposal site at Sherigu which is not a well engineered landfill site with no waste treatment
facilities except an open-air incineration, where leaching occurs in the rainy season with its accompanying
negative health impacts. This is located about 10.5 kilometres from the Central Business District of the
Mapping of the location of these sites using ArcGIS 9.3® by ESRI© revealed a clustered distribution with most
communal skips located in the Bolgatanga community and an insignificant proportion located in the other four (4)
communities (Figure 7). The peri-urban communities such as, Yikene and Zuarungu had no skips at all. Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
Figure 7. A point distribution of sanitary sites
3.6 Factors Contributing to Improper Domestic Solid Waste Management
About a third of the households in the study area collected and transported their waste by the door-to-door
method, by paying a fee to a private waste contractor (ZoomLion Ghana Ltd) for final disposal. From the study,
the door-to-door method comes next to the communal method of open dumping and according to local
authorities; the method would soon be replaced through a waste commercialisation programme. The
door-to-door method was practiced mostly in Bolgatanga and few areas in the remaining communities.
Collection and transportation by wheelbarrow and others such as carrying waste on the head can lead to pollution
in situations where the medium of carriage leaks. Also the two methods encourage indiscriminate dumping as
people turn to evaluate distance of travel and weight of the load.
A remarkable number of the respondents had average and low incomes. The number of unemployed household
heads contributed significantly to the low income bracket. The insignificant difference between income level and
the type of domestic solid waste management practiced was attributed to lack of regulatory policies and
programmes on proper waste disposal. Thus the rich and the poor alike turn to practice improper waste disposal
which is less costly. Satterthwaite (1998) asserted that, the waste problem emanates from poverty and lack of
funding as a result of low level of economic growth. Though financial constraints undoubtedly is a factor that
contributes to improper waste management, this study contradicts the above assertion with reference to the
situation at the household level as without the implementation of the necessary enforcement policies funding of
waste management programmes will still fail.
Significant proportion of households had inadequate proper storage receptacles. This attracted flies and also
served as breeding place for many insects and vermin which transmit diseases. The stench emanating from these
open receptacles become a nuisance to people. A study conducted by Benneh et al. (1993) showed that the
problem of solid waste in Accra begins at the home where open storage of solid waste was practiced by about
42% of households in Accra as against 44% in this study. Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
The observed 65% of the households who have no community storage receptacles were in low population zones
because, as shown in the correlation analysis earlier (Figure 5), waste collection was highly related to population
size of an area. Thus Bolgatanga with the highest population received the highest number of communal skips
than any other community. Within Bolgatanga, some areas do not have the facility, due to the same factor stated
above and these contributed to the number of communities without storage receptacles. The presence or
otherwise of community storage receptacles influence the kind of domestic solid waste management practiced.
Gourlay (1992) stated that, “ Environmentalists should not only join scientists and other responsible sectors of
industry and agriculture to find better ways for disposing of wastes, but to locate convenient places for their
disposal. Fasida (1996) stressed that the paramount consideration in the management decisions involving waste
disposal is site location. To eliminate the problem involved in indiscriminate disposal of waste, sites located for
waste disposal must be paramount. The results therefore suggest that distance is dependent on one method of
disposal in the community and partly on convenience.
Data on the schedule of waste collection by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit of the municipal
assembly suggests that waste is collected and disposed once or twice a week for communal skips and thrice for
door-to-door services. This was not the case on the ground as many of the households (65%) answered other
times ranging from several weeks to months. The situation compels residence and sometimes human scavengers
to burn the over flowing waste in-situ generating smoke and making such places uncomfortable to live. This
phenomenon is attested by Evan (1994), thus “Garbage is often burned in residential areas and in landfills to
reduce volume and uncover metals”. Burning creates thick smoke that contains carbon monoxide, soot and
nitrogen oxides, all of which are hazardous to human health and degrade urban air quality.
All the communities except Bolgatanga and Yikene, had majority of use for waste. The reasons being that these
areas were less urbanised and had a lot of farmers who depend mostly on their farm produce to make a living.
They therefore turn to maximize profit from materials that they obtained ranging from; increasing yield,
obtaining cooking fuel (energy) and making cash from waste. This affirms Tetteh (1997) point of view that
waste is becoming wealth, refuse is becoming resource and trash is turning into cash. The situation in Bolgatanga
was different as waste management is been compounded by a diverse urban population with a high level of
consumption and disposal lifestyles. These urban populations have very little value for packaging materials after
consumption since the same could be acquired at no significant cost. Yikene is a fast developing area because of
numerous construction projects by the affluent in society who mostly have little use for waste.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of the households practiced improper disposal by way of disposing waste into nearby
bushes and gutters. The waste becomes exposed when the vegetation cover is ripped off in the dry season
causing mass littering and during the rainy season those in gutters are compounded by eroded ones contributing
significantly to non-point source of water pollution. Disposal on farm lands is seen beneficial for the
improvement of soil if waste is of organic constituent. Dumping at site (communal skips) can be classified as
proper waste management method. The problem perceived with the latter was that its practice was quite
dependent on distance, as one can switch to improper disposal (nearby bush and gutters) on the grounds of
distance. Specifically, the percentage of respondents who practiced disposal at dump sites was twenty-one (21).
A greater percentage of households mentioned non-availability of land for dump sites (73%), the reason being
that such areas are rendered unusable and also there are no compensations. Kendie (1999) agrees in principle that,
the recent upsurge in waste disposal problems stems from the fact that attitude and perceptions towards wastes
and the rating of waste disposal issues in people’s minds and in the scheme of official development plans have
not been adequately considered. Without doubt, this situation would promote indiscriminate or crude dumping
with its attendant negative public health effects. Fasida (1996) also emphasized that the paramount consideration
in the management decisions involving waste disposal is site location.
Most households expressed concern on breeding of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, houseflies, cockroaches
and rodents. As a consequence of improper solid waste management in the Bolgatanga Municipality, the
inhabitants suffer from poor environmental sanitation related diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, cholera,
typhoid fever, worm infestation and others (Municipal Health Directorate Annual Report, 2007).
3.7 Trend Analysis and Correlation between Population and Domestic Solid Waste
The incremental change in population of 12% over the period of consideration depicted that not only the new
births but also the interplay of the push and pull factors of urbanisation. A pull factor such as the prevailing
peace in the municipality attracted migrants from conflict prone areas such as Bawku, traders from other
adjoining districts and various workers posted to the municipality which also serves as the regional capital.
However, due to the one season of farming, a significant number of persons mostly farmers and the unemployed Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
leave the area for southern Ghana in search of other sources of livelihood especially at the off-farming season
and come back during the rains and this creates a cycle.
The undulating trend in the pattern of solid waste from 1993 to 2001 (Figure 4) was attributed to initial
operational constraints on the part of the assembly, stemming from factors such as lack of logistics (communal
skips and trucks) and the habit of open dumping which was on the rise. This resulted in the meagre volume of
waste collected in 1993. The drop in waste collection in 2001 was attributed to infrequent collection as a result
of mechanical break downs of Skip trucks.
The remarkable volumes retrieved in 2009 (see Figure 4), were the total recorded volume of solid waste by
ZoomLion Ghana Limited and the Assembly. It was recorded two years after the former had started operation in
the municipality. This agrees with Tsiboe (2004) view on privatization of waste handling in Accra which is seen
as a way to make waste management efficient, cheap, dynamic and free from political interference.
The strong positive correlation (Figure 5) denotes that, as population increased much volume of waste was
collected accordingly. However, it was realized that the percentage increase in solid waste collected was 3.0%
(i.e. from 4.5% in 2000 to 7.5% in 2011) out of a total volume of 1,306,240 tons generated, denoting under
performance by the authorities.
3.8 Spatial Distribution of Sanitary Sites
Figure 7 shows that the distribution of sanitary sites that have communal skips was uneven, and it was partly
attributed to differences in usage of domestic solid waste and population. With as many as thirty-three (33) skip
sites all concentrated in the Bolgatanga township out of a total number of thirty-six (36) skip sites, this accounts
for the level of improper disposal methods practiced in the remaining communities. Communal skips are served
by four skip trucks with two each from the Municipal authority and ZOOMLION Ghana Limited. The long
distance of 10.5km, suggested the amount of fuel consumed in the final disposal of waste, is a drain on
municipal revenue. According to World Bank Report (2013) and Habitat news (1991), waste disposal may
absorb 1% of the Gross National Product (GNP) of a country, 20% to 40% of municipal budget of cities in the
developing world. It is worth emphasizing that the location of skips near public places of convenience was
appalling as it compounded the risk of disease outbreak, as some people turn to defecate around for their
inability to pay toilet tolls.
4. Conclusion and Recommendations
The study revealed that the communal method of disposal is the most predominant method of solid waste
management system in the municipality but the system is gradually paving way for the door-to-door service
which runs second in the municipality. Despite the dominant nature of communal skips and door-to-door
services mostly in the Bolgatanga community, inhabitants still practice improper disposal from nearby bush to
open dumps due to lack of enforcement of regulatory policies and programmes irrespective of income levels.
The problem was compounded by inadequate proper storage receptacles, unavailability of community storage
receptacles and long distance discourages dumping at site. Issues of none re-use of waste in most households
contributes significantly to massive waste generation of which less is collected by authorities. Lastly, the
non-availability of land properly selected and demarcated for use as dump site resulted in all manner of improper
disposal in various communities.
The study discovered that much of the information on proper waste management does not emanate from the
Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit of the Municipal Authority, but rather through schools, electronic
media and parents. As a result people held different perceptions on consequences of improper waste
management. The widest notion held was that on health and environment which the communities associated with
the incidence of diseases such as malaria, typhoid, cholera and environmental impacts ranging from air, water to
land pollution.
Clearly, it is not only issues of population increase that constrains proper waste management but also the lack of
logistics and societal attitude. This contributed significantly to the low collection of 7.5%. The unevenness in the
distribution of communal skips in the municipality was as a result of differences in population and different level
of usage of domestic solid waste in a given area.
Community by community, it can be said that the peri-urban areas such as Tindonsobiligo, Zuarungu and
Sumburungu turn to have much use for waste thereby cutting down on their waste output and thus improving on
general waste management. Introduction of a few communal skips could help make this even better. In
Bolgatanga, much of the waste generated has not been utilised and ends up in the environment. It was not strange
to have much skips in this area in ensuring proper waste management. Yikene which is in a transitional phase in Environment and Pollution Vol. 4, No. 3; 2015
urbanisation was gradually turning out much waste, but this could be remedied by providing door-to-door
service. In summary re-use of domestic solid waste is a better means of managing waste at the household level.
Notwithstanding the challenges with waste management at the household and community level and its impact for
the entire municipality, solutions to these problems are very real and achievable. To this end we make the
following recommendations;
The development of a properly engineered landfill site at a suitable location as the current location
encourages indiscriminate waste disposal as a result of distance and cost.
The allocation of skips should be based on the population of a locality and not the size of an area as the
research proves a strong positive correlation between waste generated and population particularly within the
Bolgatanga township.
Lastly, waste segregation would encourage reuse and facilitate recycling and more importantly reduce the
volume of waste that is transported to final disposal site.
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... [12] study shows that solid waste container locations in Wa were highly concentrated in the center, characterized by ground dumping at container sites, and a higher number of open-dump sites in the downtown that showed deficiency in the system of collection of solid waste. [17] argue in the concluding part of their study that skips allocation must be based on how populated an area is, and not on the size of the area since waste generation and population have a significant positive relationship between each other in a particular environment. [18] in their study in Kampala indicated that limited coverage of the solid waste collection system is among the key challenges facing the management of solid waste in the city. ...
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Access to potable water, proper sanitation, and hygiene have become global concerns. The study assessed sanitation and waste management practices and the possible implications on groundwater quality in Doba and Nayagnia. The data were elicited from 240 households using a semi-structured questionnaire. Besides, 10 composite groundwater (boreholes and well) samples were collected for total coliform and E. coli analyses. The data was analyzed using cross-tabulation and descriptive statistical tools using the R software. The study showed that there was a strong relationship (P < 0.001) between the respondents' perceptions of the importance of sanitation and their levels of education. Also, there was a significant relationship (P < 0.001) between the availability of household toilets and income levels. The availability of household waste receptacles was statistically significant with income levels (P = 0.006) and subscriptions for commercial waste collection (P = 0.009). Open defecation was influenced by inconveniently sited (P = 0.004) and poorly maintained public toilets (P = 0.009). About 73% of the households relied on boreholes as their major source of water. However, all the groundwater sources contained loads of enteric bacteria. The results of the Friedman test were significant based on an alpha value of 0.05, χ2 (2) = 8.86, p = .012 for total coliform and χ2 (2) = 7.80, p = .020 for E. coli. Generally, the communities practiced unimproved sanitation practices which may pose potential effects on public health. Alongside environmental health education, the provision of toilets and waste collection receptacles will address the environmental challenges discussed in this study.
... The waste comprises of solid, liquid and electronic material. Accra and Kumasi, with their high urbanisation and consumption, generate a significant amount of Ghana's waste (Ampofo et al., 2015). Aziale and Asafo-Adjei (2013) identify food debris, plastic, paper, bottles/cans and metals as the main waste generated in Tema in the Greater Accra area. ...
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Thesis submitted to Faculty ITC, University of Twente and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for the award of Master of Science (MSc)
The Volta River basin, which covers about 400,000 km2 is one of the most economically deprived areas in Africa (average annual income is estimated at US$ 800 per year) although precious mineral resources (gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite etc.) abound. Rain-fed and some irrigated agriculture is the main economic activity of the majority of the population living in this region. High population growth rate has brought in its wake a lot of consequences for agricultural land, water and forest resources. This paper, which concentrates on the Volta River Basin in Ghana examines the trend and pattern of population growth and distribution within the various sub-basins from 1960 to 2010. The main sources of data for determining the variables used, i.e., population size, population density, settlement and urbanization, of the sub-basins, and their subsequent projection are derived from the Population Census Reports of Ghana, for 1960, 1970, 1984 and 2000. The study also examines the effect of population growth on three key natural resources (agricultural land, water and forest resources). Results show that there were increases in population, settlements and the level of urbanization in all the sub-basins of the Volta River in Ghana between 1960 and 2000. Projections also show that these increases will continue in the future. Also, population growth is causing shortfalls in agricultural land, deforestation and high demand on water resources in some of the sub-basins of the Volta River
The Volta River basin in Ghana, about 160,000 km2, is experiencing rapid deforestation. Paper uses satellite, household survey and population census data to relate trends and patterns of population in the Volta River sub-basins to forest cover. It assesses amount of forest available in 1990 and 2000, and the relationship between population and forest cover. Forest cover that might be lost due to changes in population was computed for 2010, based on simple regression models and demographic projections. Forest cover predicted for 2010 was matched with actual forest cover in 2000. A forest availability status table was generated. It gives an indication of available forest cover in the sub-basins in 2010. Predictions show that about 20% and 25% of all districts within the Black Volta and Daka sub-basins, respectively, would experience deforestation as a result of increase in population. Other indirect demographic factors were also shown as reasons for deforestation.Institute of African Studies: Research Review Vol. 22 (2) 2006: pp 55-70
There is a great deal of concern about the problems associated with the conventional approach to solid waste management in Accra, Ghana's capital city. This article traces the history of Accra's Municipal Solid Waste Management System, providing a detailed description and analysis of its practices and policies and suggests solutions to improve the efficiency of the city's Waste Management System.