Health and Safety Training for Informal Waste Collectors across Greater-Accra Region

GAYO informal waste pickers

Informal waste workers in Ghana need to be trained in health and safety in order for them to know and understand the risks they face from direct contact with waste and why they need to consistently protect themselves with personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves, boots, safety goggles and overalls.  

Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) organized a workshop for members and executives of the Borla Taxi and Tricycle Operators Association of Ghana (BTTA) across the Greater Accra Region as part of its commitment to support the activities of informal waste collectors and pickers and to continually promote their interest and well-being. The workshop was held on 19th August, 2021 at the Accra Metropolitan Waste Management Department and it was attended by close to 100 informal waste collectors. 

The workshop centered on health and safety guidelines. The executives of BTTA were also taken through leadership training. The need for these training has been necessitated through GAYO’s engagement with informal waste collectors as part of GAYO’s Sustainable Community Project (SCP). The training was facilitated by Victoria Tuffour of Footprints Africa and Ing.. Solomon Noi-Adzeman Nuetey, Head of Accra Metropolitan Assembly Waste Management Department. The workshop also served as an avenue to conduct a survey as part of GAYO’s research activities to understand the linkages between waste collection and migration. 

Further discussions between the city manager and the waste workers at the workshop revealed some ideas and plans the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) intends on rolling out with regards to the informal waste management sector.  AMA plans to facilitate the acquisition of motor licenses for the waste collectors. The organisation will also facilitate the provision of nose masks, hand gloves and boots to the informal waste workers. 

AMA intends to form cooperatives of 30 people each for the informal waste workers and to incorporate them into the bye-laws. According to Ing. Noi, AMA will also establish fee fixing in the form of daily tolls so that waste collectors who come to the landfill to dump their waste will pay a daily fee based on the amount of load they carry.  The City Manager reiterated that he wished for the waste collection rate in Accra which currently stands at 70% to be increased. This wish however is hindered by a number of challenges including the lack of transfer stations. There are no lands in Accra to be used as transfer stations due to huge demands for lands for both residential and commercial purposes. 

Ing. Noi added that it is the responsibility of the government to buy the trucks for the public sector. The plans will be put before the government and a request will be made for money to buy the trucks. He also hoped the government will see the need for the trucks and propose a sanitation levy to be added to fuel prices. The money gathered from that will be used to buy the trucks. 

According to him, AMA is up to the task and he hopes other municipalities will follow suit.

The AMA Waste Management Head entreated the waste workers to observe safety precautions in the discharge of their duties as well as observe all Covid-19 safety protocols. He encouraged them to wear their safety boots and helmet and also to take the Covid-19 vaccine while still observing the covid protocols.


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