Water and Waste

Greater Accra

Across the region and throughout Ghana, sachet water consumption is widespread in all urban socio-economic strata.

According to the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey, in urban Greater Accra, sachet water is the main source for 57% of those in the middle wealth quintile, 70% of the richer quintile and 74% of the richest quintile (these three national quintiles together form 98.4% of this urban population). 

In our earlier research exploring a national survey of drinking-water quality in Ghana, we found sachet water was much less frequently contaminated with E. coli than water piped to the home. 

Uncollected waste blocks surface drainage in Nima, Accra (photo credit: Dr. Heini Vaisanen)

However, whilst this suggests sachets are safer than alternative water sources, if uncollected, the plastic waste generated can enter the environment, blocking storm drains and ultimately being washed into rivers and oceans. 

A tricycle delivers water sachets (photo credit: Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, University of Ghana)

Through the project we aim to find ways of reducing such unmanaged plastic waste whilst recognising sachets are the preferred source of drinking-water for millions of urban Ghanaians.