Around October 2019, I got stuck under a mobile money vendor’s tent near Abeka Total Filling Station, Accra because it was raining cats and dogs. Although the tent wasn’t big enough, the situation compelled about six persons to squeeze ourselves under the available roof. Standing next to me was a ‘kenkey’ seller who, I learnt, has been coming there daily to sell her food.
This ‘kenkey’ seller started to peel her onions, green pepper, and others but right after peeling, she put the waste, including some polythene bags, on the ground. So I asked her, “Where is your waste bag and why did you put the waste products on the ground?” and she also responded, “Ah Bra! When I close I’ll sweep”. Just after three minutes, a strong wind blew and it carried all the waste she had put on the ground away. Some of the waste products, especially the polythene bags, went straight into a gutter nearby while others were hovering in the air.
When she realized that she had acted unwisely she felt very uncomfortable because she knew her inappropriate action had caused filth at that moment. I advised her to get a waste bag and endeavor not to repeat such an unpardonable mistake again. She thanked me and later when the rain stopped, I left the place where I was going.
Obviously, if the ‘kenkey’ seller had peeled her vegetables straight into a waste bin/bag, disposed the waste products from the waste bag/bin into a bigger waste bin available, waste collectors collect the waste products into their trucks in due time, the trucks carry the waste products to appropriate recycling facility or landfill site, the waste products are recycled or completely burnt/buried, there would have been no filth created by human activities. That’s all that “Waste Disposal Chain” talks about.
The Waste Disposal Chain is a mechanism that involves the chronological activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. It operates in such a way that no one deliberately puts any waste product on the ground with the aim to sweep later. Every waste product of any kind – including a match stick or toffee wrapper – generated by individuals or institutions at any place must instantly go into a small or large temporary waste storage unit, for example, waste bin/bag till the waste product ceases to exist at its final destination.
As a matter of fact, it is indispensable to demystify how the waste disposal chain generally works so as to enable all and sundry to practice it properly. The roles of every stakeholder involved in the mechanism will also not be overlooked. Let’s look at the systematic elements in the waste disposal chain:
- Originator of Waste
In the previous article, we realized that waste is generated through human activities and non-human activities. Non-human wastes can be generated from trees, animals, wind and so forth. Although wastes generated by non-human activities cannot be prevented from becoming filth, they are often few and mostly degradable. Hence, as far as practicable non-human wastes can be quickly cleaned to let them pass through the mechanism.
On the other hand, human wastes are generated by individuals or institutions from a variety of categories: households, marketplaces, lorry stations, streets, educational institutions, health institutions, financial institutions, religious institutions, security agencies, manufacturing firms, construction firms, and etcetera.
Undoubtedly, these kinds of wastes can be prevented from becoming filth and it is, therefore, incumbent upon all individuals and institutions to get temporary waste storage units – for example; waste bin/bag. Every waste generated should instantly go into those temporary waste storage units, and nowhere else.
- Temporary Waste Storage Units
Usually, we perceive waste bins to be in the form of plastic containers nicely designed and they’re sometimes expensive to purchase. However, there are a plethora of materials that can be improvised to make waste bin/bags so as to serve the same purpose.
For instance, we can use normal polythene bags, paper containers, wooden containers, slightly cracked plastic containers, metallic containers and so forth as waste bags/bins. Plywood or bamboo can also be used to design containers to augment the functions of plastic waste bins placed along the streets, market places, lorry stations, and all other institutions.
The temporary waste storage units must be readily available at all places to make it convenient for everyone to instantly put waste products into them. By so doing the purpose of preventing waste products from touching the ground and also storing waste products for a limited period, at most one week, will be achieved.
Honestly, there will be an exercise in futility if waste bins do not have appropriate covers. Putting waste products in a temporary waste storage unit without a cover is like current Arsenal FC being top of the English Premier League at the start of the season, they’ll inevitably fall. Therefore, every individual or institution must ensure that all waste bins and bags are properly covered and tied respectively.
Moreover, there will be the need to segregate waste products at source into separate waste bins – like, plastic wastes into one container, food waste into another container, other waste into a different container and so forth. Nevertheless, such practice will be better and easier done after people have thoroughly understood and embraced the idea of putting waste products into bins/bags instantly. In any case, how can someone who doesn’t even want to put waste products in a bin/bag segregate the waste products at source?
In my candid opinion, based on analytical thinking, filth can be eradicated within six months or less and it can be achieved due to the efficacy of the waste disposal chain. Henceforth, in-depth discussion and continuous practice of the waste disposal chain should percolate our daily discourse and activities. The next article discusses the second part of the waste disposal chain: waste collectors, mini waste transfer sites, recycling sites, and landfill sites.
About The Author
Harry Sarfo Diko, popularly known as Jamigy Harry, is the sole proprietor of Idealoyal Enterprise – a registered business (with GhaClean as one of its objects of business). He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) Degree from the University of Cape. He’s much enthusiastic about Entrepreneurship and solving societal problems.