Where the Waste Goes
Since arriving in Kumasi, the IDEO team has studied where all the waste from pit latrines, sewers, and plastic bags ends up. And they've seen some pretty disturbing things…
One of the most beautiful places we saw were the brilliant green fecal sludge ponds on the outskirts of the city. Between them, the two locations serve 700 households that are connected to the sewer system (the rest of Kumasi's 1.5 million residents are not connected to the sewage system). When we visited, one (or possibly both) were out of service. The pond in the photo above houses catfish, which are stocked to consume the sewage.
We visited the city’s only landfill, where we saw both a mountain of waste and trash pickers taking the valuable items out, as well as the vacuum trucks dumping the sludge from the septic tanks and latrines they service. The KMA runs this landfill, which seems to function quite well. We’re thinking that any solution we develop must end with safe dumping at this site.
Finally, we saw the most informal of the dumping sites – the mound of garbage and river of excrement in the middle of the city. Suffice it to say that waste management remains an enormous issue which any systems solution must take into consideration.
-Jocelyn, Co-Lead of IDEO.org