This chapter addresses three peculiar challenges in the solid waste management system of developing countries, namely: the chronic lack of reliable data for planning purposes, the absence of participatory engagement strategies in data gathering for wider ownership and usage, and the lack of monitoring of the climate change burden of existing waste disposal practices. A team of researchers has collaborated with system managers and a responsible philanthropic organization to engage key stakeholders to address these gaps in a sustainable manner. The strategy deployed has been to work in a participatory and evidenced-based frame to solicit support, enhance capacities, empower each other to understand the problems and find for ourselves the practical routes by which solid waste data gaps can be closed in the greater Accra region of Ghana. Stakeholders have participated in a comprehensive waste audit and landfill emission monitoring exercise to develop a baseline, and have used local resources and ideas to recommend steps to sustain reliable data flows and the development of a climate action plan for purposes of modernization. The methodological processes and research outcomes suggest that structural collaboration between researchers and system stakeholders is necessary to break the vicious circle of chronic data gaps and substitute virtuous circles of reliable data for planning purposes.
Part of the book: Strategies of Sustainable Solid Waste Management