UM PhD student solves major waste collection problem in Ghana

Through his research, Kwaku Oduro-Appiah, PhD candidate at Maastricht University, has succeeded in making a spectacular contribution to solving the problems of waste collection and processing in Accra, the capital of Ghana. By experimenting with better cooperation between the various informal parties, the municipality of Accra is now able to manage 90% of the waste flows. This yields an annual saving of 20 million dollars. Kwaku Oduro-Appiah will receive his PhD on 2 September for his research at Maastricht University.

Pollution major challenge in Accra

The city of Accra is highly polluted. There is a lot of litter, household waste, plastic, electronic waste, etc. The collection and processing of this waste is a major problem. When Oduro-Appiah started his research in 2016, there were many separate, informal initiatives and projects involved in waste processing. Together they collected, often by hand, about 300 tons of waste every day, dumped and burned it illegally, resulting in serious soil and air pollution.

Research into better collaboration

As part of his research, Kwaku Oduro-Appiah, in collaboration with the municipality of Accra, has brought together formal and informal pick-up services and looked for solutions. This approach appears to work well. Thanks to a better vision, strategy and practical solutions, collaboration is now more efficient and about 90% of all waste (85,000 tons) is collected and recycled. This was previously less than half.

International recognition

In 2019, the Accra Municipality won the Bloomberg Philanthropies award with this initiative as one of the world's best climate projects. The Mayor of Accra received this award, which is named after the Mayor of New York, during a global summit meeting with mayors in Copenhagen. Oduroh-Apiah's research was co-funded by Nuffic, the Dutch organization for internationalization in education and coordinated through Maastricht University Center for International Cooperation in Academic Development (MUNDO).