The Role of Local Knowledge in planning and managing urban solid waste: the tale of two (2) West African Cities, Accra and Kumasi, Ghana
Demanya, Benoit Klenam
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Ongoing and potential developments with regards to solid waste management have raised concerns about well being in African cities. There is also growing concern among environmental managers, scientists, and the public that the pace and scale of human activities may lead to adverse environmental and health impacts. These concerns have been worsened by two factors: (1.) That all attempts so far made at dealing with the present situation of solid waste handling in African cities have either failed or only met with moderate success; and, (2.) There is significant economic, spiritual and cultural value placed on the city's development in Africa, therefore, a deterioration in its environment spells further difficulties for improving conditions of development. To date however, very little research has been conducted on the role local knowledge has to play in managing urban solid waste in the context of African cities. This study is a contribution on this topic, using case study cities of Accra and Kumasi in Ghana, West Africa where it was found that local knowledge plays a role not only in the day-to-day decision making of the actors involved, but also in the management of solid waste activities through, the employment of appropriate technology, the creation of awareness around local waste practices, education, adherence to norms and beliefs, and also in stopping littering and encouraging proper waste practices.