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Assessing Municipal Solid Wastes (MSWs) for composting programmes in rapidly urbanising areas: a case study from Accra, Ghana

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A complete understanding of all physico-chemical and biochemical attributes of waste stream materials is necessary for successful implementation of waste management programmes in given context because of their influence on the behaviour of these materials in the natural environment. This paper discusses these properties of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to gauge its suitability for sustainable composting programmes in Accra, a rapidly urbanising city. The results showed that the MSW was very wet at 60% moisture content by weight. Additionally, the proportion of the biologically originated carbon was considerably high compared with nitrogen thus giving high values of carbon to nitrogen (C : N) ratios (i.e., roughly 27 : 1-100 : 1). The percentage composition of materials ranged 55-65% and 40-45% for compostable and combustible materials, respectively. In conclusion, the MSW in the metropolis could be a good candidate for successful composting programmes if social and economic factors were conducive.

Keywords: physical attributes, biochemical parameters, biologically originated carbon, C : N ratio, nitrogen, municipal authority, compostable materials, municipal solid wastes, solid waste management, Accra, Ghana, rapid urbanisation, composting

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