Water and Waste


The study below is the earlier publication that inspired some of the work in the Water and Waste project. It uses household expenditure surveys to quantify plastic waste from water sachets and bottles and its disposal via different routes.

TitleEstimation of packaged water consumption and associated plastic waste production from household budget surveys
InEnvironmental Research Letters, vol.12, no.7, 2017.
AuthorsNicola A, Wardrop; Mawuli Dzodzomenyo; Genevieve, Aryeetey; Allan G, Hill; Robert E S, Bain; Jim, Wright.
AbstractPackaged water consumption is growing in low- and middle-income countries, but the magnitude of this phenomenon and its environmental consequences remain unclear. This study aims to quantify both the volumes of packaged water consumed relative to household water requirements and associated plastic waste generated for three West African case study countries. Data from household expenditure surveys for Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia were used to estimate the volumes of packaged water consumed and thereby quantify plastic waste generated in households with and without solid waste disposal facilities. In Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia respectively, 11.3 (95% confidence interval: 10.3–12.4), 10.1 (7.5–12.5), and 0.38 (0.31–0.45) Ml day−1 of sachet water were consumed. This generated over 28 000 tonnes yr−1 of plastic waste, of which 20%, 63% and 57% was among households lacking formal waste disposal facilities in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia respectively. Reported packaged water consumption provided sufficient water to meet daily household drinking-water requirements for 8.4%, less than 1% and 1.6% of households in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia respectively. These findings quantify packaged water’s contribution to household water needs in our study countries, particularly Ghana, but indicate significant subsequent environmental repercussions.
TypeJournal Article

Via the project, we then expanded this workflow from water sold in plastic bottles or bags to vegetable oils.

TitleEnvironmental Transects Survey of Mismanaged Waste in Off-Grid Neighbourhoods of Kisumu, Kenya and Greater Accra, Ghana, 2021
InUK Data Service, 2023
AuthorsUmar, Farouk; Amponsah, Mavis; Damkjaer, Simon; Dzodzomenyo, Mawuli; Okotto, Lorna-Grace; Okotto-Okotto, Joseph; Oigo, James; Shaw, Peter; Wright, Jim; Väisänen, Heini; Wanza, Peggy
DescriptionThis data set records mismanaged waste in off-grid neighbourhoods lacking essential services in two cities, namely Greater Accra in Ghana and Kisumu in Kenya. The underlying study aimed to quantify mismanaged waste patterns and composition in both cities and evaluate the extent to which environmental transect surveys could be used to quantify mismanaged waste in off-grid urban settings. Two surveyors independently recorded scattered waste items, burnt waste piles, and large waste piles along transects repeated at different times of day. Findings suggest that scattered waste density is considerably higher in Kisumu than in Greater Accra and that products such as nappies and water packaging are locally important waste components. Bland and Altman analysis suggests high inter-observer variation in scattered waste counts, but strong agreement between observers in recording waste piles.
TypeData Collection

There is another related data collection done on the survey waste collectors serving off-grid neighbourhoods of Greater Accra.

TitleSurvey of plastic and general waste collectors serving off-grid neighbourhoods of Greater Accra, Ghana, 2022
InUK Data Service, 2022
AuthorsMavis, Amponsah; Josephine, Amoah; Emefa, Boafor; Gustavus, Myers-Hansen; Moses, Asamoah; Ruby, Hornuvo; Farouk, Umar; Jim, Wright; Mawuli, Dzodzomenyo
DescriptionThis data set aims to assess how far informal collectors facilitate waste separation and recycling in Greater Accra, how waste value varies along waste collection chains, and the challenges facing plastic and general waste collectors. It comprises the results of a questionnaire survey with 182 general waste collectors, plastic waste main collectors, and plastic waste sub-collectors in Greater Accra, Ghana. The waste collector questionnaire survey data set is part of a convergent parallel mixed methods study of plastic and general waste collectors and sub-collectors within Greater Accra, Ghana. In a separate qualitative
component, focus group discussions (FGDs) were held with these groups, with a questionnaire survey of waste collectors and sub-collectors administered almost simultaneously. This data set was therefore generated by the cross-sectional questionnaire survey, which covers respondent demographics, business histories, volume and types of waste collected, waste processing, onward fate of waste collected, business finances and challenges faced
TypeData Collection

Via a further paper, we have also investigated the potential of Google Street View for quantifying mismanaged waste in urban off-grid environments.

TitleOn the potential of Google Street View for environmental waste quantification in urban Africa: An assessment of bias in spatial coverage 
InSustainable Environment, vol.9, no.2251794, 2023.
AuthorsFarouk, Umar; Josephine, Amoah; Moses, Asamoah; Mawuli, Dzodzomenyo; Chidinma, Igwenagu; Lorna-Grace, Okotto; Pete, Shaw; Jim, Wright.
AbstractMismanaged domestic waste threatens ecosystem health, with substantial increases predicted from developing country cities if current consumption and waste service collection trends continue. Google Street View (GSV) imagery has been used to quantify urban environmental waste in high-income countries. GSV availability is increasing elsewhere, but its coverage is variable. This study aims to evaluate bias in spatiotemporal GSV coverage relative to environmental waste in two case study cities. An environmental survey measured environmental waste in Greater Accra, Ghana and Kisumu, Kenya via 95 and 81 transects, respectively. Six summary metrics of environmental waste were calculated and compared for transects with full, partial, and no GSV coverage via multi-level regression. Multi-level regression indicated no significant differences in scattered waste density for transects with versus without GSV coverage. However, both cities had significantly lower waste burning densities along transects with GSV coverage (4.3 versus 24.2 burning sites/Ha in Kisumu; 1.7 versus 13.6 sites/Ha for Greater Accra) compared to those without Street View density of large waste piles was significantly lower in Kisumu transects with Street View coverage (1.4 versus 11.5 sites/Ha). Because of partial imagery coverage, GSV imagery analysis is likely to under-estimate waste indicators such as waste burning density. Future studies using GSV to quantify waste indicators in African cities should therefore correct for coverage bias. 
TypeJournal Article