In Ghana, there is a saying that “next to Godliness is Cleanliness.” Hence, as religious as most of us are, many Ghanaians today are very mindful of getting rid of waste generated from around them. Waste materials, mainly comprised of organic and plastic waste are collected from homes and dumped on streets. Other materials that form part of this waste include glass, paper and household hazardous waste. This way of life is a major contributor to disasters like flooding and disease outbreak in Ghana. This is a major problem mostly in urban areas. With a growing population in Ghana’s urban areas, this remains a thorn in the flesh of most municipal and metropolitan authorities as well as the national government. This was accentuated when the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo-Addo realized that the matter is troubling and hence decided to make the capital city Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
Due to rapid economic development, waste materials are also diverse. Waste management in Ghana is therefore systemic. The country channels huge amount of money in managing the waste that is generated. Yet the problem still remains since the rate at which waste is generated cannot be matched up by the management procedure used. Waste is therefore accumulated in various areas in our urban areas including the capital Accra.
A number of waste management techniques are utilized in Ghana, this include LANDFILLING, which is predominant all over the country, INCINERATION, which is mostly used in hospitals to manage biomedical waste and composting. Other waste management methods which can enable the country do proper management of waste are uncommon. These include RECYCLE, REUSE, PYROLYSIS, REDUCTION AT SOURCE, and RECOVERY.
Landfilling aids in reducing waste in our immediate surrounding. Most landfills in Ghana rather aggravates the situation by leading to environmental effects. A type of landfilling that seeks to ensure that waste that is managed so as to eradicate to appreciable levels environmental problems and provide economic benefit is Engineered Landfilling.
Just like every landfill, Engineered Landfills are pits in which waste materials are dumped. Only that in this case, the inherent effect of this is further managed. Some characteristics that make an engineered landfill a better choice is the Leachate collection system and waste segregation. Leachate is a substance formed when water percolates a permeable material. Leachate forming from waste materials accumulated over time have drastic effects on the environment. The substance is toxic in a way that it can cause the oxygen content of a system (e.g. water body, soil) to reduce. This may affect organisms living in these systems. This poisonous water forms beneath the waste material and with time would seep into the ground to pollute underground water sources. Waste segregation could also be termed as waste sorting. In this mechanism, the waste is separated into different elements. This allows for proper management of the waste materials.
What makes the engineered landfill a special case is that the landfill site is carefully monitored and managed. the amount of waste brought into the site is accessed and amount and quantity are note. This goes a long way to help authorities to devise strategies to manage future situations. Also, the landfill site is subdivided into cells to help increase its lifespan to collect more waste materials. The waste dumped on the site is covered with a cover material daily and this prevents scavengers from having access to it. Scavengers coming into contact with these waste materials can result in the spread of diseases. Moreover, all engineered landfills have a leachate management system to manage the leachate collected in the cells. Before these toxic waters is released, it is treated to suit environmental standards set by agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition, the immediate environment of the landfill is monitored regularly. Groundwater close to the site is measured to ensure it is of quality standard. Instruments are installed to detect the rate at which water settles in the landfill. The leachate collected is also assessed for quality reasons. Meteorological data at the site is collected and temperatures at the base of the landfill are measured regularly.
With the current state of waste management in Ghana, Engineered landfilling is the way to go. Not only does it help us manage our waste properly but other economic impacts are generated. The engineered landfill help improve aesthetics in waste management. The operation of an engineered Landfill helps the country to stay glued to the sustainable development goes. The country generates revenue from companies that dump on the landfill site. As stated previously in this piece data is generated on the waste quantities that the country generates. Besides, biodiversity is also protected from irregular irresponsible waste management.
In conclusion, Engineered Landfilling is a proper way to go in improving waste management in Ghana. Some school of thought argue that landfilling should be done away with completely as it consumes space, yet with the current state of waste management, Engineered landfills can be applied to help lessen the problem and ensure sustainability in the country.
Written by: Nii Kpakpo Brown (BSc. Environmental Engineer), Email: email@example.com