General News Mon, 21 Oct 2019

Stakeholders call for concerted efforts for sustainable waste management

Stakeholders in the waste management sector have called for intensive efforts to enhance sustainable waste management.

They made the call in Accra during a Multi-Stakeholder Forum on the theme: “Transitions towards a Circular Economy: A Cross-National Study of Urban Solid Waste Management”.

It was organised by the SITE4Society at United Nations University (UNU-MERIT), in collaboration with the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) and the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS) of the University of Ghana.

Among its objectives was to share knowledge on diverse issues in different cities to build collective insight on the nature of possible transition pathways to a circular economy.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Professor Hiroshan Hettiarachchi, Head of Waste Management Unit at UNU-FLORES, said there was a missing link between research and the implementation of policies.

He said universities, whether in developed or developing countries were not doing it right, as majority conducted research and found new methodologies, published papers and it ended it without taking responsibilities for the spheres.

Prof Hettiarachchi said to fill the gap, they needed to understand the socio-economic situations, with a collaboration that called for a strict and better policy arrangement.

Dr Bertha Darteh, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Consultant, said in the area of policy coordination, there were different ministries that had the responsibilities for waste management, but the issue was about how to get the coordination and harmonisation of sector approaches.

She also underscored the need to resource the waste management departments in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to deliver.

Dr Darteh, who underscored the need to also discuss how to scale up some of these initiatives, added that “a lot of the private sector are doing some work to recover waste, so how do we create the right incentives and support to be able to scale up the kind of work that they are doing”.

Mr Blake Robinson, Senior Professional Officer at Local Governments for Sustainability, Africa, also told GNA that having the infrastructure would propel people or create the environment for people to do the right thing.

He said there were a lot of activities with a circular economy framework, but, needed to be backed with research; however, this was a good starting point to build more circular economies; to look at what was already there, creating a platform to share those existing ideas.

Madam Maria Tomai, a Ph.D. candidate at UNU-MERIT noted that waste management was not local or national issue, but a global one, hence, her research focused on three different cities including; Accra.

She said in her preliminary research, so far, the main challenges identified in Accra was the behavioral change of citizens; how could they segregate more, to stop indiscriminate littering.

She said another challenge had to do with government, municipality and local authorities on how to provide the right incentives and monitor the system.

Madam Tomai presented a framework, basic ideas about how the two challenges could be tackled in a holistic approach, and this was centered around; information, infrastructure, incentives and integration.

She said citizens did not have enough environmental education, they don’t realise a problem and potential opportunities that may arise from the problem.

Mrs Ashabrick Nantege Bamutaze, Head of Research Unit at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, said by 2030 the rate of garbage accumulation would rise by 60 percent and most of the garbage was dumped without any further processing on management.

She said among the major challenges in solid waste management were gaps in policy implementation and lack of study especially for international business.

She suggested that there was a need to mainstream solid waste management in national development strategy and create integrated campaigns from homes,“there is a need to teach what is right and what is wrong”.

Source: Ghananewsagency.org
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