Ghana to tap energy from human waste

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Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive on Friday called on stakeholders to support the assembly's efforts in the successful development of waste energy

“The waste to energy approach would require the involvement of all stakeholders because it embraces community participation, which is an innovation in managing waste. This approach would require a paradigm shift or a new way of thinking,” he said.

Dr. Vanderpuije made the call when he launched the Ghana Innovation Marketplace (GIM) 2009 competition, which is aimed at developing innovative strategic solutions to the country’s problem of solid waste management.

GIM, which was a collaborative effort between the government, World Bank and development partners, was on the theme: “Solid waste: Big problem, big opportunity.”

Contestants from Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale and Tema are expected to explore how to convert waste into energy in an economically sustainable manner while creating employment opportunities for the youth.

Dr. Vanderpuije urged Ghanaians to adopt the initiative as a way of life and promote it through advocacy and awareness creation in schools, workplaces churches, homes and media communication.

“Some have argued that the waste to energy project is not feasible in Ghana because 70 per cent of our waste is organic in nature and that the main alternative to landfill would be recycling. But is recycling the best solution? Not if there is no demand for recycling materials.

“It is time to put myths and falsehoods aside and take a fresh look at what we do with our rubbish. Let us not waste any more opportunity, time and energy because the time for energy from waste is now,” he said.

Dr. Vanderpuije said although lands for dump and landfill sites were being acquired, citizens had not been protected from the hazards related to the inefficient management of these sites.

“Land fills and dumping sites on their own do not solve the sanitation hazards because it comes along with its attendant high cost of collection, disposal and remnants, as well as creating mountains of refuse all over the city. From all indications it holds true that the city of Accra would benefit from this type of energy because the source of fuel is readily available in large quantities.” he said.

He said under the project, landfill spaces would be reclaimed and pollution reduced while a ton of garbage would generate about 525 Kilowatt of electricity.

Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development gave the assurance that government would strengthen the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies’ by providing them with the required resources to enable the environmental health officers to effectively perform their traditional duties of premises inspection and enforcement of sanitation bye- laws.

Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry said her sector ministry would collaborate with the winner of the competition to speed up efforts to get rid of filth in the country.

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