Assessment of the municipal solid waste management system in Accra, Ghana: A 'Wasteaware' benchmark indicator approach

Kwaku Oduro-Appiah*, Anne Scheinberg, Anthony Mensah, Abraham Afful, Henry Kofi Boadu, Nanne de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article assesses the performance of the city of Accra, Ghana, in municipal solid waste management as defined by the integrated sustainable waste management framework. The article reports on a participatory process to socialise the Wasteaware benchmark indicators and apply them to an upgraded set of data and information. The process has engaged 24 key stakeholders for 9months, to diagram the flow of materials and benchmark three physical components and three governance aspects of the city's municipal solid waste management system. The results indicate that Accra is well below some other lower middle-income cities regarding sustainable modernisation of solid waste services. Collection coverage and capture of 75% and 53%, respectively, are a disappointing result, despite (or perhaps because of) 20years of formal private sector involvement in service delivery. A total of 62% of municipal solid waste continues to be disposed of in controlled landfills and the reported recycling rate of 5% indicates both a lack of good measurement and a lack of interest in diverting waste from disposal. Drains, illegal dumps and beaches are choked with discarded bottles and plastic packaging. The quality of collection, disposal and recycling score between low and medium on the Wasteaware indicators, and the scores for user inclusivity, financial sustainability and local institutional coherence are low. The analysis suggests that waste and recycling would improve through greater provider inclusivity, especially the recognition and integration of the informal sector, and interventions that respond to user needs for more inclusive decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1158
Number of pages10
JournalWaste Management & Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Assessment
  • integrated sustainable waste management
  • inclusive urban services
  • "Wasteaware' benchmark indicators
  • Accra
  • Ghana

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