Environment&Urbanization Vol 15 No 1 April 2003 53
MANAGING SOLID WASTE
Opportunities for managingsolid waste flows in the peri-urban interface of Bamakoand Ouagadougou
Derek Eaton and Thea Hilhorst
SUMMARY: This paper examines the links between solid urban waste manage-ment and peri-urban agriculture in Bamako and Ouagadougou. Staple crop farmersin the vicinity of both cities value urban waste as a source of organic matter and areprepared to pay for it. Cultivation on degraded soils has even been revived in somecases thanks to this readily available resource. However, uncertain land tenure meansthat farmers have little incentive to ensure the safe disposal of dangerous elements insolid waste. Current plans would eliminate this recycling practice and promote large-scale composting, but the cost for farmers will be too high, leaving them with an incen-tive to make their own illicit arrangements for acquiring waste material. Furthermore,small enterprises and associations that have come to play a complementary and inno-vative role in waste management would be forced out. The key challenges for policyare to build on economic and institutional reality and to regard urban waste not as adangerous nuisance but as a source of nutrients for agriculture. Opportunities existto deliver waste that has been sorted, though not composted, to peri-urban farmers.
URBAN WASTE PRODUCED in Sahelian cities has provided a source ofnutrients and organic material for farmers in the peri-urban interface forquite some time. There is documented evidence of farmers around theclose-settled zone of Kano, Nigeria having a long history of applying urbansolid waste to their fields.(1) The practice is also known in Bamako andOuagadougou. A three-year multidisciplinary project, APUGEDU, involv-ing local researchers and NGOs together with collaborators from Europeexamined the constraints and opportunities facing this practice, focusingon solid, as opposed to liquid, waste.(2)
Current developments present interesting opportunities for ensuringa safer and more sustainable recycling of solid urban waste in bothOuagadougou and Bamako, where waste management is currently beingoverhauled. Both cities have grown considerably and, with this, so havethe challenges of managing their growing waste production. There seemto be insufficient financial resources available to the municipal authori-ties charged with ensuring the collection and disposal of urban wastes,and landfills are reaching capacity. Current plans, backed by foreignfinancing and expertise, plan to leave recycling as an end-of-the-pipesolution. By neglecting to integrate the provision of organic material tofarmers, these plans risk repeating at least some of the earlier mistakes.
Derek Eaton is with theAgricultural EconomicsResearch Institute (LEI) ofthe Wageningen Universityand Research Centre in theNetherlands.
Address: P O Box 29703,The Hague, 2502 LS, TheNetherlands; e-mail:email@example.com;website:www.lei.nl/apugedu
Thea Hilhorst is with theDrylands Programme of theInternational Institute forEnvironment andDevelopment (IIED) in theUK.
Address: 4 Hanover Street,Edinburgh EH2 2EN; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The authors wish toacknowledge thecontributions of otherindividuals andorganizations within theAPUGEDU project team:Modibo Keita, MandiouGassama and Bakari Dialloof Cabinet dEtudes KeitaKala Saba (CEK), Mali;Moussa Bagayoko of theInstitut dEconomie Rurale(IER), Mali; OusseynouGune (formerly), LocadieBouda and Amah Kluts ofthe Centre Rgional pourlEau Potable etlAssainissement (CREPA),Burkina Faso; FranoisLompo, Sansan Youl andMoussa Bonzi of theInstitut de lEnvironnementet de Recherches Agricoles(INERA), Burkina Faso;
II. SOLID WASTE COMPOSITION ANDMANAGEMENT
HOUSEHOLD SOLID WASTE management presents a challenge in cities suchas Bamako and Ouagadougou due to the dispersed production and diversecomposition of the waste, as well as the relatively weak administrative andfinancial capacity of municipal authorities. The production of organic waste inresidential areas means that it poses an immediate hygiene risk and requiressome form of effective management. In contrast, solid waste produced bymarkets, hotels, restaurants or industry tends to be more homogeneous and isconcentrated in greater quantities at fixed locations, resulting in possibilities forlower collection costs, recycling and disposal.
Households in Bamako and Ouagadougou produce approximately 0.60.7kilogrammes of waste per person per day, with wide variations according toseason and household income. This amounts to an estimated 600700 tonnesper day for a city population of around 1 million. The organic fraction of thiswaste accounts for about one-third of the total and also varies considerablyamong income groups. Higher-income households produce almost four timesas much organic waste as lower-income households. Whilst the amount oforganic waste produced doesnt appear to vary much with different seasons,the amount of sand and dust in household waste increases considerablyduring the dry season. Together with plastic, paper, metals and textiles, thepresence of these inorganic components means that the non-organic compo-nents need to be separated, in order to ensure a relatively safe recycling oforganic matter.
Growing concern about the situation is resulting in an increasing numberof actors (other municipal departments, local councils, associations, etc.)becoming involved in the search for solutions. In the years following Inde-pendence, the municipal authorities in both cities assumed responsibility forcollecting waste, backed by investments in lorries and depots. By the 1990s, thegrowth of the cities, combined with a lack of ongoing investment and admin-istrative difficulties, led the government to accept the participation of wastemanagement enterprises and non-profit organizations, whose emergence wasoften supported by NGOs.
In Bamako, small enterprises known as Groupement dIntrtEconomique (GIE) began to complement the municipal collection system inspecific neighbourhoods by establishing a clientele of households who paymonthly fees for waste collection. These GIEs generally work with simpledonkey-pulled carts and limit themselves to transporting waste to collectiondepots within the immediate vicinity. Individual entrepreneurs often sort outsome of the more valuable components and the municipalitys lorries removethe remaining waste.
A similar informal and private sector has established itself inOuagadougou, consisting of small enterprises and also some local associa-tions. There were 11 such enterprises and 10 associations active in 1999 in areasof the city no longer being effectively serviced by the municipality, whichremoves only an estimated 40 per cent of total solid waste produced. Thereare a large number of unauthorized waste collection points within the city.
III. PERI-URBAN AGRICULTURE
THE PERI-URBAN area of interest in the recycling of urban waste is gener-ally located within 15 kilometres of the urban boundaries, depending on
54 Environment&Urbanization Vol 15 No 1 April 2003
MANAGING SOLID WASTE
1. Mortimore, M (1993),The intensification of peri-urban agriculture: the Kanoclose-settled zone,19641986 in Turner, B L,G Hyden and R W Kates(editors), Population Growthand Agricultural Change inAfrica, University Press ofFlorida, Gainsville, pages358400; also Lewcock, C(1995), Farmer use ofurban waste in Kano,Habitat International Vol 19,No 2, pages 225234.
2. The Potential forDevelopment of Urban andPeri-urban Agriculture inRelation to Urban WasteManagement in West AfricaProject (French acronym:APUGEDU; website:www.lei.dlo.nl/apugedu)was financed principally bythe INCO Programme(contract numberERBIC18CT980288) of theEuropean CommissionDirectorate-GeneralResearchs 4th FrameworkProgramme, withadditional funding from theNorth-South ResearchProgramme of theNetherlands Ministry ofAgriculture, NatureManagement and Fisheries.
Nadine Dulac of WASTE,the Netherlands; Leo vanden Berg of Alterra, theNetherlands; MarcelMengelers of theNetherlands State Institutefor Quality Control ofAgricultural Products(RIKILT); and Carlos Garcaof the Centro Edafologia yBiologca Aplicada delSeguro (CEBAS), Spain.
the possibilities for transporting waste. In the APUGEDU project, detailedsurveys were undertaken at sites that were most relevant for recyclingurban waste due to their proximity to routes accessible to municipal wastelorries. In Ouagadougou, this was at Kamboins, situated approximatelyfive kilometres north of the city. In Bamako, attention focused on the north-ern plain bordering the Niger River upstream of the city.
There is a diversity of production systems in the ruralurban interface,although this is more pronounced in Bamako due to greater variations inwater availability. Farmers in the peri-urban zone of Ouagadougou tendto grow only staple crops, in particular sorghum, millet and nib, withsome minor livestock activities. The presence of the Niger River inBamako provides more opportunities for diversified cropping systems.Most peri-urban farmers along the river plain cultivate a variety of vegeta-bles and fruit in addition to the staple crops of millet, sorghum, rice andpeanuts (often in inter-cropped systems). The mixture of crops varies withlocation and farmer characteristics. Twelve farms, covering 9.7 hectares,were surveyed intensively in this area as part of a larger survey that alsoincluded urban farmers. These peri-urban farmers devoted almost three-quarters of their land to maize. Strawberries and garden peas eachaccounted, on average, for another 5 per cent and a range of othervegetable crops, including tomatoes, onions and okra, for the remainder.But strawberries earned 35 per cent of the total average