Home Institution

Middlebury College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression


Title: Waste Management and Environmental Initiatives in Accra, Ghana

Author: Aoife Genevieve Duna (aoifeduna@gmail.com; Middlebury College, Anthropology and Dance major)

Objective: The objective of this project was fourfold: • To study the current waste management practices by government and private waste companies • To observe the perspectives of residents on waste disposal • To explore environmental initiatives by citizens, NGOs, and student groups • To investigate the potential projects that could reduce waste

Methodology: For my project, I conducted interviews, made observations, participated in daily personal waste management, visited a landfill, and visited a composting project.

Findings: Waste collection is currently inadequate to support the demand of residents. The waste is then disposed of poorly maintained landfills, which quickly turn into hazardous sites for the surrounding communities and ecology. Poorly managed waste has a number of negative health and environmental consequences, including but not limiting to malaria, cholera, acute respiratory infections, ecological degradation, loss of biodiversity, and flooding. There are some environmental groups working on waste reduction and environmental education initiatives. However, citizens lack the sense of personal responsibility to the trash issue, even though many of them are aware of the effects of insufficient waste management.

Conclusion: Much more must be done to improve the waste management crisis in Accra. Problems will continue to worsen if nothing is done in the near future, and the challenges will be more daunting down the road if they are not tackled now. Citizens and government must collaborate to find solutions to waste issues. There is huge potential for innovation in composting, recycling, and repurposing materials. The citizens of Accra could turn waste problems into new projects and green jobs.


African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Health | Environmental Studies | Organization Development | Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health | Place and Environment


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