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72% residents in Tamale have no toilets in their homes says Waste Management Dept.



About 72 percent of residents in Tamale have no toilet facilities in their homes and are either using public toilets or practising open defecation.

With a population of 485,213 residents and 70,629 others in transit the Tamale metropolis inexplicably has only 137 public toilets, out of which 15 have been privatized or leased to private operators for a six-year period.

Conditions of most of the public toilets are an eyesore thus compelling many residents to resort to open defecation. The current decentralization system prohibits local authorities from building more public latrines in communities except market places, schools and bus terminals.

Local authorities are mandated to encourage landlords and landladies to incorporate latrines in their houses. The metropolis considered to be the fastest developing city in West Africa has major waste management problems evidently from an increasing population.

Waste management situation

According to figures from the waste department, every individual in the metropolis generates 0.6 kilogrammes of waste, which amounts to 291.1278 tons of solid waste a day.

The Tamale Metropolitan Waste Department Director, Mr Martin Ahorlu disclosed this when he presented the current situation of waste streams and management levels in the Tamale metropolis at a two-day Community Life Improvement Programme Conference on the productive use of waste in Tamale.

Attendees at the conference included NGOs within the WASH alliance, Agriculture and Waste Management sector and members of the consortium of Tamale Urban Sanitation and Waste Programme.

Mr Ahorlu explained that the metropolis has not been put on any sewage line apart from the Kamina one. The TAMA waste management director said the assembly is considering a technology where the waste can be incinerated into energy to add to the national grid.

This, he said, will save Tamale from getting into a situation like that in Accra, where waste trucks have to travel to Kpone Akatamso to dispose of waste.

The Waste Management Department of the Tamale metropolitan assembly says it is resource-constrained to monitor the disposal of both liquid and solid waste. The department’s admission follows stakeholders’ concerns about its inability to regulate the disposal of waste in the metropolis, especially drivers of septic tankers.

An official of the department described human beings as the most difficult creatures in the world to manage adding that individual behaviours contribute sometimes to insanitary conditions.

The official was responding to questions on the indiscriminate disposal of liquid waste  The TAMA waste department says they are overwhelmed by the waste generated on a daily basis in the metropolis and that residents need to change their attitudes towards the environment.

Zoomlion’s role in collecting waste 

The Zoomlion company which has a government contract to collect waste generated on daily basis said it’s overwhelmed by the amount of waste generated.

The deputy northern regional manager of the company, Mr Abudu Imoro explained that per the contract the company signed with government, Zoomlion was supposed to collect waste on weekly basis and not daily.

He said the increasing nature of waste especially in the Tamale metropolis has put an enormous pressure on the company and added that that the company’s contractual agreement will be reviewed to suit the current challenges.


The Project Coordinator of Tamale Urban Sanitation and Waste Programme (TUSWP), at the Community Life Improvement Programme (CLIP), Mr Abdallah Mohammed, who presented an overview of the project, told Zaa News that waste is now a resource for food production.

A consortium of NGOs within the WASH alliance, agricultural sector and the UDS, among others, he said, carried out extensive work on compositing the black soldier fly and the use of waste water to improve agriculture.

The consortium, Mr Mohammed said, hopes to use their expertise to address water and sanitation problems by exploring all technology to improve food production in the north and Ghana at large.

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