The Mayor of Accra, Elizabeth K. T. Sackey, has highlighted the city’s progressive initiatives in the waste sector to curb methane emissions.
According to her, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) was implementing five priority waste sector actions in its five-year Climate Action Plan to attain universal solid waste collection coverage, divert waste, especially organic waste, from landfills, and dispose of residual waste safely.
The Mayor disclosed this when she took centre stage at the Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Dubai during a panel discussion as part of ICLEI’s circular city leaders on the critical and urgent need for rapid methane mitigation from the waste sector to align with the Paris Agreement and Global methane pledge.
She disclosed that the city was set to pilot a Solid Waste Source Separation Programme in four communities before implementing it citywide.
The Accra Mayor noted that amendments to the Assembly’s sanitation and waste management bylaws were in progress to mandate source separation for all waste generators.
She also mentioned that initiatives to provide community compost facilities were underway in three selected communities to promote household and community composting, adding that the produced compost would support various environmental initiatives, including gardening, greening public spaces, and tree planting.
The Mayor indicated that implementing a Zero Waste Street concept to reduce the quantum of residual waste from communities along the selected street through composting and recycling was underway.
She also pointed out that anticipating an increase in organic waste, plans for a large-scale compost facility were in motion, with feasibility studies set to conclude by the end of the second quarter of 2024.
She emphasised that solid waste collection agreements were under review to include separate collections of organics and plastics, and increase collection coverage to at least 95% over five years.
She said a needs assessment, in collaboration with C40 Cities under the Inclusive Climate Action programme, resulted in the integration of informal waste workers into the waste management system and that capacity-building programmes had been organised to enhance efficiency, with plans to award concessions to informal cooperatives from the first quarter of 2024.
She used the opportunity to underscore the necessity of a circular economy approach to minimise residual waste. Mayor Sackey mentioned that Accra’s immediate priorities include separating dry and wet garbage, diverting organic waste from landfills, and ensuring the safe disposal of residual waste.
“By using the circular economy, we will aim to use locally based and locally driven approaches to create green jobs, and while at it, we will specifically involve the youth through innovation hubs where stakeholders can test new ideas, and develop skills that are beneficial for their communities,” she said.
The Mayor of Accra, who attended the first-ever Climate Action Summit at COP28 under the auspices of Bloomberg Philanthropies, highlighted the contributions of Mayors and cities in the climate space.
“Cities are unrivalled partners in the delivery of climate action. They represent the closest level of government to residents and are the first responders in emergencies. From regulations to ensuring buildings are transitioning to renewables, setting up our clean energy utilities, managing waste and reducing the emissions transmitted by waste, we are sending clear signals that we are committed to mitigating the climate crisis,” she noted.
Mayor Sackey also announced the city’s ambitious plans to increase reliance on clean energy sources, citing specific projects aimed at harnessing solar power to sustainably meet the growing energy demands.
She used this global platform to advocate for the need to help close the urban finance gap and unlock investment that flows directly to cities to scale up critical inclusive climate action, improve livelihoods and keep 1.5°C within reach.
The Mayor also called for multilevel partnerships across national and subnational governments as well as with invested international entities to deploy dedicated urban investments to deliver city-inclusive climate action.
Other personalities on the panel included Ms. Martina Otto, Head of UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (Moderator), Mr. Carlos Silva Filho, President, International Solid Waste Association, Mehmet Özhaseki, Minister of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, Turkey, and Marcelo Mena, CEO, Global Methane Hub.
Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) participate in the annual Conference of the Parties (COP), where their representatives reflect on progress made towards meeting their climate commitments and decide on steps to improve implementation going forward.