Mapping the Realities of Waste Crime in Urban Ghana

  • Ebenezer Owusu-Sekyere University for Development Studies
  • Rolanda Mahama Damongo Senior High School
  • Alfred Toku University for Development Studies
Keywords: crime script, Ghana, Kumasi, solid waste, waste crime


The management of solid waste in Ghana is daunting.
Despite the introduction of new technologies
including waste-to-energy projects, poor solid waste
management (SWM) and its signifiers still dominate
the daily lives of the people. This article uses the
concept ‘waste crime’ to discuss the negative
practices associated with SWM in Kumasi, Ghana.
Specifically, it presents the nature of waste crime and
how it can be minimized using empirical field data
obtained from household heads and institutions
involved with SWM through the mixed method
design. The results revealed that waste crime was
pervasive, existed in many forms and occurred along
the entire SWM chain. Poor implementation of
policies, insufficient enforcement of environmental
regulations and lack of punishment on infractions
for illegal SWM were identified as contributing to the
phenomenon. The paper argues that if the negative
practices associated with SWM are not discussed
in the context of crime, policy suggestions on the
phenomenon in Ghana might be incomplete