The Biogas Association of Ghana (BAG) is calling on government to formulate a national policy to regulate the disposal of faecal waste in the country.
The Vice President of the Association, Mr. Daniel Osei-Bonsu – in a media interview with support from BUSAC, DANIDA and USAID, stated that a national policy would help eliminate unhygienic ways of disposing faecal waste and usher in modern technologies that are safer and hygienic.
Mr. Osei-Bonsu said government must act with urgency to phase out the use of septic tanks and rather adopt bio-digesters and other on-site solid waste treatment systems that are presently available in the country.
Mr. Osei-Bonsu explained that the use of septic tanks must be a source of concern to government, because the country does not have the capacity to treat all the raw sewage dislodged from homes and other toilet facilities.
“Bio-digesters are on-site treatment units so they don’t require dislodging of raw sewage; but with the use of septic tanks, we are all engaging in open defecation because most people don’t even know where their faecal waste is finally disposed,” he said.
The group’s Vice President further stated that due to the unavailability of off-site treatment facilities in the country, most of the sewage dislodged from toilet facilities ends up in water bodies.
He added that although some private waste management companies have built some treatment plants for that purpose, they are still in small number and cannot cater for the entire country.
“They have not been able to reach every district, and they don’t have treatment facilities in all the districts,” Mr. Osei-Bonsu noted.
He said small-scale bio-digesters that convert biodegradable waste from plants and animals into biogas should be constructed across the country, adding that: “The by-products can even be harnessed for domestic use”.
To make it widespread, Mr. Osei-Bonsu said the Association requires government assistance to promote this technology across the country.
He explained: “We want bio-digesters to be installed in place of septic tanks at all homes and toilet facilities because of the enormous benefits that can be derived from them – aside from helping to keep the country clean; because most of the waste ends up in water-bodies, which causes most of the communicable diseases we often encounter”.
According to him, the association – which has a membership of about 80, has started training young people to take up roles in the emerging industry; a move they believe can help reduce unemployment in the country.
He said harvesting gas from the bio-digester to be used as fuel for domestic purposes is already creating employment for many people in the country where the technology was being used.
“Especially in the Ashanti Region, young people are harvesting biogas from installed bio-digester into receptacles that look like a cylinder, and it is a good business for them,” he said, explaining that a major source of business for the youth lies in construction of bio-digesters.
Mr. Osei-Bonsu added that: “The end result of human waste ends up in septic tanks. We are therefore saying that we need to use the waste product for gas and fertilizer, and that is why we need to adopt the use of bio-digesters”.
To help make it easy for regulations to be enforced in the emerging industry, the Vice President of the Group stated that the association has a reliable data base that can help monitor the work of members to ensure they comply with all regulations associated with their work.