Most of African nations have suffered from flood incidents and it has destroyed most essential infrastructures, impacting hundreds of thousands and killing individuals yearly.

It has been reported that flooding throughout Sub-Saharan Africa has destroyed greater than 10,000 houses and affected greater than two million individuals. On June 3, 2015, a flood in Accra adopted by a submitting statin gasoline explosion killed 150 individuals.

The catastrophe additionally affected greater than 50,000 residents in Accra. The price of the broken was estimated at Gh₵ 242 million or 55 million US {dollars}.

Speedy urbanisation and inhabitants inflow have intensified the town capacities and providers round Accra. Of its many challenges are city flooding and stable waste administration.

A easy public service in every are sometimes missing in Accra and the 2 sectors work together as stable waste blocks drainage flows, leading to flood throughout rainfall.

Accra is increasing at a fee a lot quicker than flood danger administration plans are developed and infrastructure put in.

The prevailing techniques are moreover not furnished to accommodate altering and growing runoff patterns brought on by local weather change and enhance in impervious areas.

These pressures are skilled by the casual settlements in Accra, the place impromptu dwellings typically increase into flood danger areas, low-lying areas or current drainage channels.

Accra migration will increase waste era, industrialisation additional will increase and diversifies waste generated per capita, leading to a surge in waste era than precise urbanisation.

Municipal or family waste is probably going the best amount generated among the many varied forms of waste streams (industrial, animal, radioactive and medical waste).

Hitherto, lower than an estimated 30% of Accra waste is collected, that is due to the shortage of waste assortment providers, alternate options and consciousness of well being and sanitation considerations, residents resort to dumping waste into close by drains, waterways and open areas.

Open dumpsites inside drains or waterways overwhelm an already confused drainage system, growing the frequency and severity of city flooding. Annual floods in Accra are blamed, no less than partially, on plastic baggage, which block sewers and drains.

Poor drainage and contamination of city runoff poses quite a few considerations. Stagnate water brought on by disposed plastics or clogged drainage channels acts as a breeding or feeding grounds for vectors, vermin, growing the dangers of communicable illnesses in densely populated setting.

Actions on account of flooding typically disrupts entry to wash water and sanitation, generally inflicting public well being disaster equivalent to cholera and E coli outbreaks.

Polluted waters additionally contaminate floor and groundwater sources, impacting entry to protected ingesting water post-disaster with long run impacts.

These pressures compound extra intensely in impoverished city areas in Accra; the poor have the least entry to public providers and have the least capability to organize for and rebuild after disasters, inserting them in a vicious cycle of poverty.  

The collective affect of the shortage of stable waste and concrete flood danger administration on Accra’s financial progress, the well being of its residents and households.

If stable waste administration and concrete flood danger administration are so vital, why aren’t these providers being offered? Consciousness of well being and sanitation points is mostly low each in authorities and amongst residents.

Waste administration is commonly seen as a low standing occupation with low wages, resulting in lack of investments.

In some cities, group and personal enterprises are the one energetic waste administration entities, producing jobs and income from recycling and waste sorting, however their affect is commonly small-scale and insufficient as waste from close by areas shortly flows in.

No single strategy will ever be universally profitable to deal with this recurrent drawback. Addressing this inter-sector subject requires a mixture of actions that fits that locality, involving varied actors, together with group members, the non-public sector, and AMA.

Strong Waste Administration in Accra

Strong waste administration is a big and rising drawback for Accra and is commonly a uncared for side of city administration. Nonetheless, poor waste administration can contribute to the affect of city flooding by blocking drainage, growing particles and harbouring illness vectors.

It types a part of a posh city administration system in Accra that’s interlinked and regularly underfunded. This results in the mix of poorly constructed and maintained drainage techniques with insufficient waste administration.

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These points are extra acutely felt in rising economies the place the fast progress in city populations are prone to lead to huge will increase within the demand for waste disposal and the breakdown, on account of overloading, of current functioning techniques.

As said beforehand, in neighbourhoods with insufficient solid-waste administration or drain upkeep, waste and vegetation can shortly clog the circulation techniques and drains, resulting in flooding.

Particularly stable waste can have an effect on the incidence of localised flooding with gentle rainfall. It has been noticed that the engagement of populations within the means of waste discount could be a extremely efficient mechanism to manage waste.

Due to this fact, elevating the notice of residents concerning the advantages of waste discount could be a first step in accountable waste administration and flood danger discount. Group involvement and participation in community-based approaches to the administration of stable waste and enchancment of drainage are sometimes advocated.

Lack of public participation is alleged to lead to wasted municipal effort as, with out understanding and consciousness, locals will proceed to dump their waste in drains. 

The 2007 floods in Accra triggered a whole lot of individuals to go away their homes and transfer to safer places. Related conditions occurred in 1995, 1999, 2001, 2008 and 2011, 2015 and not too long ago 2020 inflicting havoc.

Native flooding in Accra is commonly attributed to blocked drainage brought on by poor waste administration.

Nonetheless, populations in Accra are hardly conscious of the drainage points related to flooding and regard waste administration because the position of the federal government.

It’s noticed that the inhabitants usually are not resilient and adaptive to the present danger and the extent of preparedness, restoration and response could be very poor.

The answer

The proposed answer goals to deal with interplaying problems with stable waste administration and concrete flood danger. Inclusion of public involvement and training can also be vital to develop and keep a wholesome, full of life metropolis.

Every of those sectors may have their very own technique with its personal objectives, goals, and motion plans. As an alternative of encouraging metropolis governments to develop yet one more technique particular to this cross-sector mannequin, this answer suggests growth of a supplemental motion plan.

This motion plan can help already current methods. Some actions that usually pertain to public involvement and training might be instrumental in assembly a stable waste administration goal, or vice versa.

There might be actions which might be inherently inter-sector, equivalent to organising a public cleansing occasion. Interaction between Strong Waste and City Flood Danger Growing a Supplemental Motion Plan.

Equally, stable waste administration and concrete drainage can have overlapping goals and actions, equivalent to putting in drainage covers or screens to catch waste in runoff and cleansing collected waste out of gutters.

The capability to assume cross-sector when planning methods and tasks may be vital in reaching the bigger frequent metropolis imaginative and prescient.

This answer presents actions that metropolis planners can make use of to develop a complete supplemental motion plan, which helps and fills in gaps within the public involvement and training, stable waste administration, and concrete drainage sectors. Particular goals and sensible actions rely fully on Accra distinctive state of affairs.

a. Public Involvement and Training

Collaboration between AMA and residents, group teams, industries, and personal corporations to type the muse is essential. Funding within the public involvement and training sector helps handle the interplaying points surrounding waste accumulation in drainages that stretch past a metropolis authorities’s capability to handle in any second in time. Particularly, funding on this sector addresses the next two wants.

  • Residents and industries have to take initiative and tasks, inside their capability, to create the society or group wherein they like to dwell.
  • Residents, industries, and the town authorities have to collaborate and work beneath a standard function or understanding public involvement is time and vitality intensive, requiring actions equivalent to holding conferences and workshops, and sustaining open communication channels, which might decelerate decision-making processes and challenge execution.

    Nonetheless, tasks which have resident help are extra sustainable. Equally, investments in relationship constructing and nurturing residents that take initiative and duty over their rapid environment have immeasurable advantages over the long run. Advantages of public involvement embrace however usually are not restricted to the next.

  • Raises residents’ consciousness, motivation, and sense of autonomy.
  • Builds relationships between residents and the federal government for smoother communication and collaboration sooner or later.
  • Nurtures belief that improves sustainability and ease of implementing tasks and metropolis actions.
  • Gives the federal government with resident suggestions and concepts to enhance metropolis providers and packages.
  •  Helps guarantee longevity of tasks and packages.
  •  Promotes co-production, the place resident actions are useful parts of metropolis providers, equivalent to cleansing out native gutters and drainage channels.

    Separating or placing out waste for metropolis providers to gather, deal with, and dispose or recycle. Figuring out points, equivalent to collected waste or blocked drainage, and reporting it to correct authorities.

    The intent shouldn’t be essentially to exclude different potential stakeholders, equivalent to non-public companies and group organisations.

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 To deal with the interaction of home stable waste and concrete flood danger, the town of Accra must firstly set up waste assortment and transport techniques.

If home waste is successfully faraway from the town panorama, it will stop any from accumulating and blocking metropolis drainage techniques, which causes flooding and public well being points.

Citywide providers are vital to supply residents a transparent strategy to get rid of waste generated. Nonetheless, if a metropolis is to gather waste, there must be a spot for the waste to go.

Therefore, funding in waste assortment and transport should inherently embrace funding in the whole waste stream. The most straightforward and quickest strategy is to determine a sanitary landfill, the place waste may be responsibly disposed in a fashion that minimizes environmental and well being dangers.

Nonetheless, waste administration providers that result in waste disposal is neither greatest observe nor probably the most socially or environmentally sustainable.

This linear system waste the place uncooked supplies are extracted from the setting to provide a product, which can be used as soon as after which dispose it in a landfill on the finish. Such system constrained the setting and metropolis providers.

Round Financial system considering gives sustainable alternate options by specializing in prevention, minimisation, or discount of sources use and by figuring out alternatives to reuse, recycle, or get well sources. from waste.

Lowering environmental and sources calls for all through the product life cycle additionally helps scale back emissions of greenhouse gases and mitigate local weather change.

City Drainage infrastructure collects and conveys rainwater from city areas into waterbodies to stop city flooding. This infrastructure is especially essential in city settings as a result of:

  • Impervious areas enhance floor runoff and stop pure drainage.
  • Increased inhabitants, waste, and asset densities enhance flood danger, well being danger, and potential damages river basin (e.g. land use planning inside the floodplain, embankment development, multipurpose dam development, giant scale retention basin development) and concrete flood danger administration (e.g. managing rainfall that falls and flows via the town) collectively safe a protected city dwelling setting.

    This answer focuses totally on adaptation, enchancment, and upkeep of current city drainage infrastructure to take care of city drainage capability.

Mixed sewer techniques are sewers (CSS) which might be designed to gather rainwater runoff, home sewage, and industrial wastewater in the identical pipe.

More often than not, mixed sewer techniques transport all their wastewater to a sewage remedy plant, the place it’s handled after which discharged to a water physique.

In periods of heavy rainfall, nevertheless, the wastewater quantity in a mixed sewer system can exceed the capability of the sewer system or remedy plant.

Because of this, mixed sewer techniques are designed to overflow sometimes and discharge extra wastewater on to close by streams, rivers, or different water our bodies. 

As compared, separate sewer techniques (SSS) present separate networks for the 2 discharge streams. Impervious areas, nevertheless, considerably scale back infiltration and enhance floor runoff, which collects in gutters and drainage channels as stormwater or in ponds or detention basins.

Detention basins present storage of runoff and a possibility for infiltration, serving to to lower flows inside the city drainage system and receiving pure waterbodies.

Runoff enter underground pipes that carry home wastewater, which requires remedy earlier than being discharged into a close-by water physique.

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There may be underground storage to manage circulation all through the system, accommodate instances of excessive circulation, and to scale back mixed sewer overflows (CSOs).

CSOs are untreated discharges from CSS, vital to stop upstream flooding, however detrimental to the water high quality and setting of the receiving water physique.

Waste that accumulates in these constructions can limit runoff from coming into the city drainage system and trigger flood. On the similar time, in growing nations, city drainage infrastructure capability itself is normally insufficient to deal with runoff.

Addressing systemwide city drainage challenges require analyzing the whole system. This answer doesn’t current a holistic strategy to city drainage planning and design however gives some recommended actions to a quickly rising metropolis, explaining essential concerns when increasing or enhancing current city drainage techniques.

One other fashionable strategy that may be applied in new growing areas in Accra is:

Sustainable City Drainage Programs – higher often known as SUDS – are designed to decrease the dangers of flooding in any space by creating extra environment friendly technique of draining water from areas susceptible to flooding with out over-filling our current drainage system.

A big contributor to the problem of flooding is the continuous enlargement and densification of city areas.

These city and metropolis areas are typically constructed up utilizing nice expanses of impermeable supplies which stop rainwater from draining away because it falls, and this has turn into a significant factor within the floods which have befallen the Accra lately.

Our outdated drainage techniques merely can’t deal with the quantity of rain they’re anticipated to deal with.

What does a Sustainable City Drainage System do?

  • Decelerate the speed at which rainwater flows into our older drainage techniques
  • Enhance the standard of rainwater flowing into the drains
  • Cut back the injury triggered to the setting & wildlife habitats by heavy rainfall

To attain these three fundamental goals, SUDS implement a number of totally different measures:

Creation of extra permeable surfaces. The development of drainage and the discount of the danger of flooding are dependent upon the introduction of permeable out of doors surfaces.

Extra permeable surfaces embrace gravel, blocks, or tiles with areas left between them to permit for drainage via to a layer of soil. This SUDS methodology has many purposes and is well-liked with many sorts of property.

For this to work, the underlying soil should even be permeable, so a closely clay-based soil isn’t any good. The soil additionally must be clear and contaminant-free to keep away from any dangerous substances being washed into one other physique of water the place it may trigger environmental injury.

Rainwater harvesting. There are a number of good causes to reap rainwater relatively than permitting it to clean away. Stopping rainwater from attending to the drains each reduces the danger of flooding and saves that water for sensible makes use of across the residence. Rainwater is great for use in washing, cleaning, gardening, and toilet flushing. Whether or not utilizing a easy water butt within the backyard or a extra complicated underground rainwater harvesting system, there may be loads that may be executed with water saved from operating off the roof and into the drains.

Formation of ditches, ponds, and wetlands. Generally, a extra apparent panorama function can be utilized to stop flooding. Artifical ponds, ditches, and wetlands can successfully management the speed at which water drains away from a densely built-up space.

Water is collected after which step by step launched by a course of often known as attenuation. When fully drained, these areas mix into the broader panorama and are normally coated with grass or different vegetation.

Inexperienced Roofing. A relative newcomer to the constructing website, inexperienced roofs are sprouting all over. Though they’ve been used all through historical past, they’ve not too long ago loved one thing of a renaissance as designers try to turn into extra environmentally accountable of their practices.

While inexperienced roofs decelerate the speed at which water reaches the bottom and drainage techniques, additionally they present different benefits equivalent to air purification wildlife habitat, and residential insulation.


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The writter Philip Kyeremanteng is a Senior Environmental Scientist.

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