Top 10 Waste Management Challenges Ghana Must Overcome
- Poor planning.
Discussing Ghana and its severe waste management problem, Deputy Director of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency Cindy Badoe attributed the waste management issues of Ghana’s capital city, Accra, to poor planning by “institutions mandated to do so.” An article posted on SpyGhana notes Accra residents’ frustration that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly has shifted waste collection in certain areas of the city away from Zoomlion, Ghana’s biggest waste management company.
- Lack of enforcement.
In addition to poor planning, Badoe also attributed much of Ghana’s waste problem to a lack of enforcement of sanitation bye-laws and building regulations by metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies. Ramped-up enforcement is needed to ensure that Ghana moves toward a future with less waste in the streets.
- Unplanned human settlements.
Bedoe also noted that unplanned settlements contribute to Ghana’s trash problem. These settlements lack any sort of infrastructure and trash is disposed of indiscriminately, never making it anywhere close to a landfill. A lack of collection also makes these ripe for serious health hazards.
- Lack of usable landfills.
An article from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting details Ghana’s serious lack of usable landfills. While the norm used to consist of people taking their trash to the city limits to burn, the government attempted to implement waste management systems. This included construction of a number of landfills. The landfills available are all filling up, according to ZoomLion’s Stephen Geyeke-Dark, operations manager for the Ashanti Region.
- No incorporation of the rural areas.
As mentioned in the previous point, the norm in Ghana used to include burning trash. This is still the norm in the rural parts of the country and the residents are very aware of the health risks the practice poses. However, many rural Ghanaians are not willing or can’t pay for waste management services. So, they turn to street-side dumping or burning, neither of which are safe.
- Not embracing waste-to-energy.
One of the best ways to deal with waste is to convert it to energy, which is the way the waste management industry is trending. Much of Ghana’s excess waste problems could be dealt with if they were able to find a positive use for it, though that definitely isn’t as easy as it sounds. It isn’t for a lack of trying, however. Ghana tried to start a waste-to-energy project going with some support from the Dutch government, though the plans ultimately fell through.
- No mainstream acceptance of recycling.
This one is on its way to becoming a reality, though it’s not there yet. ZoomLion has plans to establish two recycling centers—one in the capitol of Accra and one in Kumasi. The necessary electrical infrastructure may not quite be ready, however, and that could certainly lead to the projects being held up. According to the Pulitzer Center article, Ghana has an “informal” recycling process that involves the scavenging and selling of plastic back to plastic companies.
- Urbanizing the wrong way.
Kenneth A. Donkor-Hyiaman of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Land Economy argues the viewing urbanization as Africa’s greatest woe is all manner of wrong. He sees it at its “greatest opportunity for development.” He argues, however, that this is only true if it is properly managed. In Ghana’s case, it still has a long ways to go. The move from rural to urban creates a lot more trash that did not exist before, and if measures aren’t in place to counteract that, things get out of hand quickly, as they currently are in Ghana.
- Not accounting for population growth.
It’s a simple formula: more people equal more trash. For Ghana, who doesn’t have the necessary waste management procedures in place currently, this is a big problem. Not only will they have to solve the aforementioned problems, but as the population grows, they’ll have to account for them on a large scale. That can make any job all the more difficult, let along one was difficult as fixing Ghana’s waste management issues.
- Mismanagement of policy outputs and outcomes.
Donkor-Hyiaman identifies Ghana’s major waste management as one of not effectively managing what he terms as policy outputs and outcomes. He describes the privatization and commercialization of Ghana’s waste management systems as an “output,” and proper waste management as an “expected outcome.” He explains that an “output” is a deliverable which leads to achieving the “expected outcome.” In Ghana’s case, there is a wide gap between the two. Because the lower and middle classes can’t afford proper waste management, it goes unutilized and the “expected outcome” is not met. He claims this effectively leads to “indiscriminate littering” and that there must be an alternative solution.
Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management.
As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient.
In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared.
“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner.
Establish a preparedness framework
Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.
Monitor the situation
It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.
Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out.
Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.
Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols
It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.
Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.
In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences.
Establish a communication programme
People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.
Review the impact on the operation
Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.
Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?
IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.
In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications.
Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response
Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.
Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.