The West African country of Guinea, with its estimated 12.5 million inhabitants is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, despite its strong economic potential in the area of mining, agriculture and energy. With a quick move towards urbanisation, cities in Guinea are continuously faced with economic, social, environmental and health challenges that require considerable investment and improvements in the area of basic infrastructure. However, of all of Guinea’s cities facing these challenges, the capital, Conakry, is the most affected. In 2017 Conakry was home to 40% of the country’s population and it is expected that within the next 10 years, more than half of the country’s population will reside in the capital.
Of the many difficulties in the area of infrastructure faced by Conakry, solid waste management stands out as particularly impaired. Although a waste collection system exists, it only partially covers the city, with certain neighbourhoods lacking adequate accessibility for collection to be an option. Additionally, the preliminary waste collection (transportation of waste to the waste consolidation sites) is undertaken by a handful of SMEs via motorised tricycles or on foot, and is fully financed by the users of the system, making it even less accessible. Once at the waste consolidation sites the National Agency for Public Sanitation and Hygiene is responsible of transferring the waste to the landfill. This current system is inefficient, particularly taking into account the lack of resources of the SMEs and the lack of funding on the part of the municipalities which all lead to recurring malfunctions. These malfunctions of the waste management system inevitably lead to the accumulation of waste in the urban environment, which is in part then burnt in the streets close to residences and roadways. This situation has numerous negative impacts for the environment and the inhabitants themselves, namely the facilitation of the spread of diseases and other health risks, air/ground/water pollution, increased risk of flooding, negative impacts on biodiversity and increased greenhouse gas emissions.
Various government programmes, as well as projects from funding bodies, have taken place and others are currently underway in order to improve the existing system and reduce the impacts mentioned above. As such, AETS, as a member of the BURGEAP consortium, with Biotope Guinée and INSUCO, were recently awarded a contract funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to carry out feasibility studies of a proposed project aimed at improving the urban environment of Conakry’s municipalities by structuring the downstream solid waste management system. Since April 2018, a project has been implemented aiming to professionalise and institutionalise the collect and valorisation of the solid waste. In close cooperation with this support to the upstream waste management mechanism, the consortium will conduct various studies, including, but not limited to: a feasibility study of the landfill; the potential for biogas and waste-to-energy; fostering the positive roles of the improved technological alternatives on climate change challenges (mitigation and adaptation); an analysis of the project’s impacts on biodiversity; a risk evaluation and a simplified design of an engineered landfill; a global support to the institutional and governance framework.