The Ashaiman Municipal Assembly (ASHMA) has begun a process of converting faecal matter from public places of convenience in the municipality into biogas.
The project, under a public-private partnership, is aimed at eliminating the nuisance caused by the foul odour emanating from public toilet facilities, as well as reduce the spread of communicable diseases in the municipality.
Moreover, the conversion process is expected to improve sanitation conditions.
When completed, the project is anticipated to augment the revenue that accrues to the assembly.
As part of the project, large volumes of faecal matter will be recycled and processed into fertiliser for agricultural purposes. Treatment plants will be sited at selected locations in the municipal area. Already, feasibility studies are ongoing to have the project started by the first quarter of 2015.
Biogas is a renewable energy source that is developed from recycled waste. It can be used as fuel to power engines. In that process, gas energy is converted into electrical energy.
According to the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Ibrahim Baidoo, the project would be executed in collaboration with Biogas Technologies Africa (BTAL).
Raw material for the biogas processing plant include bio-degradable waste materials such as fecal matter and chicken and meat throwaways, for instance, which would be converted into energy.
“Waste obtained from public places of convenience in the municipality will go to improve funds generated internally by the assembly and this will support the development of slums in the municipality which has stalled because funds from the central government have delayed,” he said.
The MCE said the lack of toilets in many homes was worsening the sanitation situation of the municipality, with people defecating in plastic carrier bags.
“Because of prevailing conditions, plastic carrier bags containing faeces have become the dominant waste collected from drains across the Ashaiman community.
“As such, we see the waste-to-energy project as coming to put an end to the habit of defecating in the open and a booster for a clean municipality,” Mr Baidoo said.
He said at present, 50 per cent of the budgetary allocation of many metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies went into solving sanitation problems.
He said the money being spent could have been channelled into other areas such as expanding infrastructure for the health and educational sectors.
The Chief Executive Officer of BTAL, Mr John Idan, said if biogas technology was accepted widely, there would no longer be the need to dump faecal matter into the sea.
“In many communities in Accra and other areas, faecal waste is disposed of indiscriminately and the practice has heightened people’s vulnerability to communicable diseases,” he said.
He pointed out further that embracing the technology would also eliminate the fight for control over the management of public places of convenience.
He said BTAL had undertaken a pilot project at the office of the President, as well as some private institutions, and was hopeful that the technology would be embraced by district assemblies across the country as they strove to ensure cleanliness in their areas of jurisdiction.
source : Daily Graphic