Solid Waste Management

Elmina collects about 42% of waste generated in the area per day. The waste consists mostly of domestic waste and to a smaller extent of commercial, industrial and hospital waste. The average amount of solid waste generated, which is mostly domestic, is about 0.003 cubic metre per person daily. This means that roughly 66 metric tons of waste (66,294 cubic metres) is generated daily. Over 72% of the waste produced is organic.The Elmina Town is divided into eight (8) areas for the purpose of refuse collection. However, due to the inadequate number of refuse trailers, only a few areas enjoy organised refuse collection These containers are therefore placed at certain vantage points where the population is high and the trailers accessible.

There are no household collection points. Instead, individuals, mostly children, carry the waste to the disposal points, which in certain areas are as far as about 200 metres away from their houses. The required maximum distance is 100 metres.The Municipal Assembly, in 1994, through the Urban III Project provided ten trailers, two dumpers and two tractors for waste collection and transport to the final disposal site. As at now three of the trailers have broken down leaving seven. There is therefore no reserve for emergencies.

The seven trailers are located at Dutch Cemetery, SSNIT Flats, Marine, Nyanta, Sarmu, Estate and the New Market Recently the KEEA has acquired five other trailers with support of Cordaid / Memisa (a Dutch NGO) who are supporting a general clean-up and hygiene campaign. The capacity of each of these trailers is 7.28 cubic metres and they are removed daily by the two tractors to the final disposal site at Ataabadze, 8 kilometres away from the Elmina Town. In areas where there are no trailers for waste collection as in Teterkesem, Akotobinsin, Bantuma, Ayisa, Zongo etc., dumping is by either burning or burial.

Some people prefer dumping indiscriminately in their backyards or any available space, or into the lagoons.Refuse collection in the district capital is done free of charge on household basis, except hotels which are supposed to pay for services rendered. However one of the bigger hotels in town is not receiving this service from KEEA. They  burn and sometimes bury their waste as well as use private collectors (the latter especially for organic waste). This is also because the KEEA does not have the equipment to undertake door to door collection. It is advisable to use one of the new trailers provided by Cordaid / Memisa to provide waste collection service to hotels, shops ands restaurants and charge a fee for this.

The collection of waste is expensive and drains the budget of the Assembly (fuel, labour, maintenance and capital cost).To increase waste collection from the present 42%, costing the Assembly about 13 million cedis in fuel annually, to about 60% can only be achieved by an increase in expenditure.To achieve this, necessitates the introduction of user fees. This, however, is a long and difficult political process and needs extensive involvement of all stakeholders to create awareness about the importance of waste collection. The District Assembly is currently implementing an awareness programme together with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cape Coast and the Health Department of the Ministry of Health (again funds provided by Cordaid/Memisa).

Refuse dumped is not segregated in any form and also no recycling is in place.Plastic bags are found scattered wherever one goes and spoil the aesthetic beauty of the environment. There are no organised pickers to collect these, but individuals collect part of the waste to sell for re-use. Some people also collect waste food to feed their animals, but this only happens on a very small scale.Household waste collection is a very difficult and expensive operation, as most of the old settlements are not accessible, except by the use of trucks to the trailer points There is therefore the need for an intensive education for individuals to willingly carry the waste to the trailer points, to avoid indiscriminate dumping, and pay for the secondary collection from the collection points to the disposal site.

Solid Waste Management And The Environment

Runoff water from St. Jago and Java Hills scatters solid waste down the hills during rains. Most of this waste enters the already inadequate drains. The waste chokes the drains resulting in flooding, as discussed above, with all its negative consequences.Residents set fires to the waste in their environment, to create space for further dumping. In doing so they cause atmospheric pollution and create health risks for themselves and their fellow towns’ people. Burnt dumping grounds are still breeding places for flies and other vermin, which serve as vectors for disease transmission. The areas are also used as defecating grounds, again posing further health risks to residents.

At Mpoben, near the castle, Akotobinsin and Nyanta dumping sites without disposal facilities are situated very close to the main road. When fire is set to these, it causes smoke nuisance that impedes vehicular movement and can easily lead to road accidents.Wind causes litter like plastic bags, papers, and other light materials, to be scattered over large areas. This is for instance very prominent at Mpoben near the castle. This area, a fish-landing site, is always found to be full of plastic bags. It has to be noted that plastic bags take a long time to decompose, and are therefore a serious and long-time form of environmental pollution.Solid waste, is used for reclaiming land by creating landfills.  One has to keep in mind, however, that using waste as landfill does not take away the threat of pollution of groundwater and soil. This depends on the quality of the waste used.

The Need For Adequate Dumping Sites

The existing level of collection of refuse is far too low: seven trailers with a capacity of 7.28 cubic metres for a settlement of over 22,000 people that has been targeted for a leading role in tourism. As the Senior Minister in the Government of Ghana and son of Elmina, Mr. J.H. Mensah, said recently.’The present sanitation situation in Elmina and tourism do not go together’. Over the short-term period, a minimum of about 60% of refuse generated should be targeted to be collected. Priorities here should be zones bordering, the beach zones around the castle, en route to Fort St Jago, the fish processing zones, Lorry Park and key institutions and commercial concerns. Given the predominance of low-income families in Elmina, and unplanned high-density sectors coupled with the unfavourable topography, the bulk of residential refuse has to be collected through a communal disposal system or transfer system.

The Assembly has acquired land at Ataabadze in the early 1990s, encompassing an area of about 14.0 hectare for a final disposal site. It is estimated that this current site offers sufficient space for the next seven years, based on the present 28 tons of refuse collected daily. What remains to be developed is a proper final treatment system for suitable parts of waste. As 73% of the waste is made up of organic material, composting is a possibility, which in turn helps to increase the life span of the final disposal site. The composted end-product can be sold to farmers, which helps recover costs. As stated, the proximity of the site to a school is currently a point of discussion.

Marine Snd Water Resources

This document has already discussed fisheries and mentioned fish catch as a marine resource. This has been discussed as a subset of the whole Ghanaian and KEEA situation. In this segment the marine resources are stretched to encompass the sea, beaches, lagoons, rivers, and mangrove swamps of Eimina. The town has all of these resources and they impact on it both positively and negatively.

Sea And Beach

The sea and shore of Eimina considered in this document stretch from the Oyster Bay Hotel to that of Coconut Grove Hotel at Bantuma, a distance of about 10km. Part of this shore line forms a bay, which actually starts from Cape Coast and ends at the St. George’s Castle. Apart from the fish, crabs and oysters that the sea provides, the beach offers opportunities for recreation. Because of the presence of the bay, one can observe a scenic panorama of the sea and coast between Eimina and Cape Coast. 

The coconut tree strewn seashore embraces a white sandy beach punctuated with deep purple Sedimentary rocks. The scenery is enhanced, when various types of canoes and fishing vessels in Eimina are anchored on the sea as they wait for the high tide to sail to the fish-landing sites. The idea has been mooted that, with adequate safety measures, a speed boat can be made to shuttle on the sea between the St. George’s and Cape Coast Castles to let tourist get a feeling of both land and sea travel.

River, lagoon, And Mangrove Swamps

The mouth of the Benya River in Elmina is both an outflow of the river into the sea, and an inflow of the sea inland. It offers a route for fishing vessels to sail to fish landing sites, it provides fish (especially small tilapia), and carries an important marine resource -brine for salt - inland. It is the inland flow of the sea via the Benya River that provides for a lagoon with mangrove swamps in the town. In the lagoon, saltpans are constructed for the production of salt through sun evaporation. The type of salt so obtained has a special quality, due to a content of minerals other than Sodium Chloride.

The salt therefore has an added value, which quarried salt has not.The mangrove swamp is a habitat for some special types of land crabs and fishes, and is home to the typical mangrove forest. A second river in Elmina of historical and natural significance is the Surowi (Doice, Zoete, or Sweet River, which until 1872 marked the boundary of Dutch and English territories in Ghana and is also the boundary between Elmina and Cape Coast.

Increasing Pressure On Marine Environment

The pressure on marine, river, lagoon and mangrove resources mainly results from unscientific and /or selfish exploitation. The document has given figures about erratic fish catch in Elmina. Changing ’global’ climate patterns seem to have affected fish migration towards our coast. However, this document has already highlighted on big trawlers with ’Seiko’ nets, which harvest even the smallest fishes. Until recently the ’Seiko’ vessels sorted out only the tuna and big fishes they wanted and threw the small fish back into the sea dead. However, these days the ’Seiko’ trawlers view these small fishes as a by-product and barter them for food items and drinks from smaller canoes. 

The catchall method of the ’Seiko’ trawlers deprives the local fishermen of the catches of fish they were used to. Until recently, local fishermen used pesticides like DDT and explosives like dynamite to catch fish. The pollution danger is very obvious. The Benya and Sweet Rivers of Elmina do not experience extensive exploitation pressure in terms of fishing. Use of cast nets and angling in these rivers are commensurate with fish stocks. Besides, the Elmina culture bans fishing in the Benya River for six weeks preceding the first Tuesday of July, the Bakatue festival day. This period allows for breeding of fish in the river.

The exploitation pressure on the Benya River is in the provision of brine for salt making. Unplanned construction of saltpans in the course of the river hinders the natural flow of over a long stretch. Saltpans have been constructed in such a manner that only those nearest the mouth of the river gets enough brine directly from natural inflow. Higher upstream water pumps are used to pump brine into the pans, thus increasing production cost due to fuel expense. The construction of the saltpans also puts pressure on the mangrove swamp and forest. Mangrove trees are cut away to allow construction of pans. This affects the flora and fauna of the swamp.

Impact of Human Activities On Marine Environment

A scientific investigation in the state of pollution of the Elmina coast in 1991 found it to be under serious environmental threat (Annan-Prah & Ameyaw-Akumfi). The research found major solid waste pollutants along the beach such as: faeces, tar balls, bottles, plastic buckets, food wrappers, ’poki’ ice-cream containers, bottle tops. plastic bags, and groundnut wrappers. The researchers also recorded values for heavy metals such as Zinc, Copper, Lead and Mercury. At low tide the average coliform counts of the sea, up to ten metres from the shore was 22.7%.

The implicationsof these findings suggest that the area is at least not a depository of petroleum products from ocean-going vessels. Yet, it is recognisable that the tar balls may result from bitumen used for sealing boats on the beach.Heavy metal concentrations are below World Health Organisation standards for water. However, fishing vessels use leaded fuel and periodical monitoring of lead levels is recommended. Feacal pollution is the most serious environmental pressure, which needs control. Given that the salt content of this sea is likely to kill most common germs, the values obtained give room for vigilance.

All drains in Elmina Town open into the sea, lagoon and rivers. It is common knowledge that some irresponsible citizens empty faeces into street drains. Some public toilet facilities are sited near the sea and the Benya River. Some people raise pigs along the seashore at K’Burano and Ayisa and the edges of the mangrove swamp. This leads to a flow of waste matter from the pigsties into the lagoon. Inadequate toilet facilities force the populace to use the beaches as defecating grounds. These constitute the pollution threat on these waters.

Water Resources

The founding of Elmina was linked to the discovery of a brook and named Elmina -Anomana (’inexhaustible supply of water’). Paradoxically the brook dried up due to seismic changes, and in historical and modern times the supply of fresh water in Elmina has been far from inexhaustible. When the Portuguese built the St. George’s Castle in 1482, they incorporated into it a water reservoir capable of holding 90,920 litres (20,000 gallons) of water. When the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in 1637, they originally did not trust the Portuguese reserves, for not having been poisoned.

They constructed another water reservoir with acapacity of 277,760 litres (60,000 gallons). Both reservoirs were rainwater fed and are still present. In times of severe water shortage in Elmina, the population of the town and its environs traditionally fall back on the Suruwi and Kakum Rivers for water for domestic use. The expansion of Elmina town and its population over time led to the sinking of wells in and around Elmina Town, and the construction of reservoirs in homes to collect rainwater. Well water in Elmina is rather salty. In 1937 pipe-borne water was supplied for the first time in Elmina. All but two wells at Damabodo and Victoria Park (Trafalgar Square) were shut down after that.

  Presently, only the well at Damabodo is still functional. The water travels a total of 23.7 kilometres from Brimso to Elmina, having passed through some villages en route.  At present the town has one functional water reservoir of 255 cubic metres (56,250 gallons) capacity. A reservoir on St. Joseph’s Hill is out of order at the moment. The Ghana Water and Sewerage Company estimates 90 litre per person per day demand for water in Elmina. With a population of 20,098, Elmina needs therefore 1.8 million litres of water a day. Nine public standpipes are functioning in Elmina  

Problems Associated With Water Supply

The GWSC admits a weak transmission and distribution of pipes made of asbestos  cement. Because of the weak pipes the booster pump cannot deliver at its optimum capacity and always needs to be throttled to reduce pressure and prevent the AC pipes from bursting. There is therefore a need for the replacement of pipelines with a combination of PVC and ductile iron pipes. Parts of the water pipeline network are currently situated length ways along the central axis of the main roads in Elmina. This poses problems for the maintenance of both pipes and roads. A comprehensive rehabilitation is estimated by

Date Created : 11/21/2017 5:40:37 AM