Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease emerged in December 2019, more than 180 million cases have been confirmed globally. In Ghana, as of 26th June 2021, a total of 95,914 COVID-19 cases and 796 deaths had been confirmed. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ghana Health Service have announced various protocols to break the virus transmission which includes frequent handwashing with soap under running water, social distancing, quarantine, and the wearing of face mask. These protocols have resulted in unexpected variations in waste composition and quantity, specifically biomedical and plastic waste. For instance, used face mask which constitute biomedical waste is mixed with household waste exposing waste collectors and handlers to great danger. Likewise, the indiscriminate littering of used PPEs has imposed pressure on municipalities and local authorities to properly collect and dispose of potentially infectious PPEs. Unfortunately, waste PPEs generated during this pandemic is a new phenomenon, with which we have no previous experience or waste management strategy coupled with the fact that the situation keeps evolving. This presentation would highlight some of the challenges faced by the solid waste management sector during the pandemic and the underlying opportunities to improve on waste management systems in Ghana.
By: Dr. Junias Adusei-Gyamfi