Looking into the Past: Rethinking Traditional Ways of Solid Waste Management in the Jaman South Municipality, Ghana
Urban solid waste constitutes a major problem for environmental management in developing countries. The inability of municipal authorities to tackle this problem effectively calls for alternative management approaches, including private sector participation. This paper explores the relevance and application of indigenous knowledge and practices for improving solid waste management (SWM) in the Jaman South Municipality of Ghana. Employing a qualitative method, 28 respondents, comprising traditional leaders, assembly members, farmers and traders, were purposively selected and interviewed using an unstructured interview guide to gather data. The data were analysed qualitatively using a thematic approach. The result shows that taboos, communal labour, household composting, use of domestic wastes to feed animals and conversion of domestic wastes into tools and other material assets were the indigenous SWM practices within the Municipality. These SWM practices, which are believed to have positive effects on the environment by respondents, can be rethought and adopted as to enhance the management of municipal solid wastes. The paper acknowledges the erosion of these practices, due to the adoption of modern lifestyles by some residents and non-recognition by municipal authorities, and calls for the design of public education programmes that incorporates indigenous concepts.