Best Ideas 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
Explain your idea in details:
Biodegradable municipal waste generation in Ghana currently stands at 0.32 kg/capita/day, translating into over 9000 tonnes of waste every day. Plastic waste generation has also been on the rise in the country, posing a threat to town and city managers nationwide. The nation generates over 1200 tonnes of plastic waste a day, which translates into hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles, bags and sachets in drains, gutters and on the streets. The increasing and uncontrolled use of chemical fertilizers in the production of foodstuffs has, over the years resulted in the production of unhealthy foods and huge postharvest losses. This has resulted in an increasing demand for organically produced foods in the country. There is also an unprecedented rise in youth unemployment in the country The primary goal of the W4FE initiative is to promote sustainability in the water and sanitation sector in Ghana through effective waste management, and the conversion of waste into valuable inputs for agriculture and food production as well as energy generation to support domestic and industrial activities in the country. This will help clean our town and cities and as well provide sustainable employments and livelihoods for hundreds of youth in our communities. The initiative will provide free marked waste bins for households, schools, communities and businesses, especially food processing and production entities, to promote waste segregation and reduce the dumping of waste on the streets and open places. These bins will be collected and emptied at regular intervals and very low charges. The waste collected is then composted for agricultural production or converted to produce energy. The initiative also aims at promoting recycling and reuse, as well as championing education in responsible generation and management of waste. As part of the initiative, organic vegetable and fruit farms as well as renewable energy plants will be established.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Waste for food and Energy, W4FE, with primary focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability, is expected to have significant impacts in societies and individual livelihoods. The initiative, upon successful implementation, will offer an innovative nexus approach to the waste management menace in the country by regarding waste as inputs or raw materials for food production and energy generation. This will decrease by over 80 percent the amount of waste left in the streets, open places and open landfills. As results, waste and sanitation related diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid, dysentery, malaria, cholera, etc., which has been on the rise in the region, will be drastically reduced. The initiative will also provide a more economical and environment friendly approach to waste management in the country. W4FE will also provide sustainable employments and suitable livelihoods to hundreds and thousands of youth in the country. The initiative is expected to advance the realisation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Success of the initiative will be determined by the extent to which open dumping of waste is reduced, the number of employment opportunities created, amount of compost and energy converted from waste, among other indicators which would be identified during implementation of the initiative.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
W4FE will be implemented as a social venture with the aim of promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability in both deprived and developing communities in the country. Target customers and beneficiaries of the initiative are urban and peri-urban households, schools, restaurants, hotels, industries, markets and other relevant stakeholders engaged in activities involving the generation of significant amounts of waste. Customers will be enrolled into the initiative and provided with clearly marked bins for both biodegradable and non-degradable wastes. Depending on the rate of generation, waste will be collected at agreed time intervals. Funding for the startup of the initiative is to be obtained from various sources including personal funds, grants and/or awards, venture capitals, etc. Revenues are expected to be obtained from waste collection, sale of treated and recycled wastes, sale of compost and energy generated from the wastes. Revenues collected will be reinvested in the venture and other aspects of society. With a very high scalability, W4FE is expected to be implemented across all parts of the country, with possible extension to other parts of the African continent. Collaborations with various city managers, universities, environment institutions and other state agencies in the waste and sanitation management sectors will be sought to ensure successful implementation of the initiative.
I am a 28 year old Master of Science Water Resources Engineering and Management fellow at the Regional Water and environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi RWESCK), Department of Civil Engineering, KNUST. My love for the environment and sustainable development began with my undergraduate education in the environmental sciences at the university. Whenever I walk in the streets of Kumasi and Accra, I am constantly dismayed by the level of pollution and degradation of our environment resulting from poor waste management and our disregard for environmental protection and sustainability. The twin disaster of 3rd June 2015 involving floods and fire at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, which claimed over 250 human lives, including my first year college roommate, always serves as a reminder for me to make an impact to save lives in society. I have come of the understanding that waste (especially plastics), when poorly managed and left in open places and streets, washes off with rains into streams, gutters and drains, clogging them. This has been the main cause of the perennial floods that befall the cities of Accra and Kumasi every year. Having had significant training in waste and sanitation management as well as having considerable experience in my prior engagements as projects manager for Pos Impact Foundation, Ghana, I am well equipped to lead my team towards the successful implementation of the initiative.