Cost effective waste management through composting in Africa
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per person from urban waste management activities are greater in subSaharan African countries than in other developing countries, and are increasing as the population becomes more urbanised. Waste from urban areas across Africa is essentially dumped on the ground and there is little control over the resulting gas emissions. The clean development mechanism (CDM), from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol has been the vehicle to initiate projects to control GHG emissions in Africa. However, very few of these projects have been implemented and properly registered. A much more effi- cient and cost effective way to control GHG emissions from waste is to stabilise the waste via composting and to use the composted material as a soil improver/organic fertiliser or as a component of growing media. Compost can be produced by open windrow or in-vessel composting plants. This paper shows that passively aerated open windrows constitute an appropriate low-cost option for African countries. However, to provide an usable compost material it is recommended that waste is processed through a materials recovery facility (MRF) before being composted. The paper demonstrates that material and biological treatment (MBT) are viable in Africa where they are funded, e.g. CDM. However, they are unlikely to be instigated unless there is a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, which ceases for Registration in December 2012.