Metropolitan Waste Management Department

The Department of Waste Management has been established to keep the Metropolis clean and healthy and by so doing provide and deliver effective and efficient waste collection and disposal services. The department is also to design and implement programmes that are environmentally acceptable, economically affordable and polices that are directed towards addressing global concerns in general. 

Main Objective of the Department

The main objective of WMD is to ensure that 80% refuse generated in the Metropolis is collected and properly disposed off, by December, 2010.
Functions of the Department

Some of the functions of the MWMD are:

  • The collection and disposal of wastes which, includes solid and liquid wastes, excreta, industrial wastes, health care and other hazardous wastes
  • Storm water drainage cleansing
  • Public cleansing
  • Collaborate with other institutions on sanitation issues
  • Educate the general public on waste management issues
  • Provide sanitation infrastructure within the Metropolis as well as
  • Manage final disposal sites


This department has both skilled and unskilled labour. The department is one with high staff strength in the Metropolis. The Head of Waste Management manages, control, plan and coordinate activities under the general supervision of the Metropolitan Assembly. This is the breakdown of the manpower in the department.

Equipment holding of the department

The department works with both heavy and light machines especially in the areas of waste disposals. The table below indicates the type of equipment the department manages.

This picture shows that there is the need for more new acquired equipment if the department is the function effectively and serve the over increasing population of the Metropolis in the coming years.

Departmental Activities

The department undertook series of activities during 2006-2009. Some of these activities ranged from educational campaigns on sanitation, clean-up exercises, improvement in the stock of equipment holdings, monitoring and supervision among others. The table below illustrates some of the activities the department implemented.

Even though Tamale is an urban districts it is still vulnerable in terms of adequate potable water supply. The Metropolis has two main water systems. The urban water system and peri-urban and rural water systems based on the location of the facilities. During the dry season, most of the water bodies dry up while the already poor underground water level falls making boreholes and wells to dry up.

Environmental Situation

Even though Tamale is an urban district it is still vulnerable in terms of adequate potable water supply. The Metropolis has two main water systems. The urban water system and peri-urban and rural water systems based on the location of the facilities. During the dry season, most of the water bodies dry up while the already poor underground water level falls making boreholes and wells to dry up.

Urban Water Supply – Tamale

The capacity of the Tamale water supply system is 4.3 million gallons per day while the daily demand is 12 million gallons. Coverage in terms of numbers is about 450,000 people. This figure includes the little over 42 communities in the rural area who enjoy treated water from the Tamale water treatment plant.

The Ghana Water Company rations the water in order to attain a high percentage of coverage. Without rationing, the coverage is only 43% of the urban population. With the rationing which is done effectively, the coverage goes up to 45%. This will continue until the proposed capacity expansion is executed. The government is sourcing for funding, so it is not clear to state up to what tune the current supply figures in terms of coverage would be pushed up.

GWCL as the government agency in supplying potable water has already put forward its plans to government to expand the water system of the Tamale Metropolis and its environs. This includes increasing the water supply at the Dalun treatment works by an additional 6 million gallons per day. 

This will involve building a new water treatment plant at Dalun, laying a new raw water and treated water transmission pipe line to Dalun and Tamale respectively. This will at the end bring the total daily output to 10 million gallons and laying of a new network of distribution pipes to cover the whole of Tamale.


  1. Non-payment of water bills by the communities along the Dalun road and low payment by the people e.g. Tamale Metropolis, this results in high cost of operations and low revenue returns.
  2. Vandalization of water pipes and other facilities.
  3. High level of illegal connections

Key issues to be tackled

  • To expand the water supply system to meet the rising demand.
  • Improve on the rationing so far embarked to make it very efficient.
  • Reduce unaccounted for water by 15% in the next 4 years.
  • Improve the distribution system to make it more efficient and workable.
  • Maintain the high quality of water.


As one of the fastest growing cities in the country Tamale is faced with daunting challenges in the management of both solid and liquid wastes.

Solid Waste Management

Solid waste is managed through communal container system, door-to-door collection services, street litter bins systems and evacuation of heaps.The Metropolis has been zoned into three. Solid waste collection services within zone one has been given to private management with other two being managed by the Waste Management Department of the Assembly.

The Refuse Generation Rate (RGR) is about 150 tonnes per day. However the 43-(15m3) containers can take up to 7.5 tones of refuse per day leaving a backlog of 142.5 tones per day. This results in littering of streets, dumping of refuse in drains thereby choking them. The result is the general insanitary conditions created within the Metropolis with the subsequent breeding of mosquitoes and other flies which cause diseases not to talk of the perennial flooding of some parts of the city.

Liquid Waste Management

Liquid Waste Management takes care of the public toilets, household toilets and institutional toilets within the Metropolis.
There are about 95 public toilets within the Metropolis out of which private contractors are managing 23. The remaining toilets are being managed by Unit Committees, Assemblymen or some group of people within the Community.

The Assembly is privatising these toilets in phases. Under the Urban IV project the Assembly assisted households to construct 980 No. household toilets facilitates. The department has three (3 No.) cesspit emptiers used for servicing the toilets including other districts in the region. However one of the cesspit emptiers is broken down and the other two are nineteen and six years old and therefore break down quite often resulting in insanitatory conditions at toilet sites particularly during the rains.

Key Issues

  • Acquisition of more communal containers
  • Capacity building for staff
  • Procurement/Rehabilitation of cesspit emptier and skip trucks
  • Sustained Education programmes.

Most of the infrastructure facilities are located in Tamale urban. These include electricity, roads water supply, health and educational facilities. In addition all the institutions which stimulate economic growth are located in urban Tamale. These include manufacturing industries, financial institutions, commercial centres and research institutions. This has brought about a situation where all the villages in rural Tamale depend on Tamale urban for their basic needs and services.
The built environment consists of the following:

  1. Residential
  2. Open spaces
  3. Street side structures
  4. Green belts

Environmental conditions in housing in the Tamale Metropolis is not encouraging. Because of the poor quality of the housing situation run off storm waters cause erosion in some parts of the city thus exposing foundation of buildings. Stagnant water which because of the flatness of the terrain within some residential areas have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Domestic industrial as well as commercial waste are poorly managed giving rise to the degradation of the environment.

Open spaces are abused in terms of use. They are used for defeacation and indiscriminate siting of temporary structures especially make-shift kiosks and disposal points for refuse. Most of these make-shift structures are sighted along the streets thereby marring the beauty of the city.



Date Created : 11/18/2017 8:48:30 AM