Low-Tech Approaches to Infrastructure Development: Waste Management Systems + Anaerobic Digestion in Sub-Saharan West Africa

Urban Planning Thesis

Cuthbert A. Onikute

Elliot Sclar, advisor

The challenges of waste management have persistently troubled local and national governments across the Global South. Target 7c of the Millennium Development Goals is specifically focused on urban waste management. In sub-Saharan Africa the failure of waste management is especially pronounced in non-capital urban environments. The failures of waste management are often attributed to failures to adequate collect and properly manage disposal, both failures are often attributed to lack of funding. A waste management system built around anaerobic digestion has the potential to provide multiple economic incentives for full waste collection and treatment. This thesis modeled the likely cost and economic returns to small and medium sized cities in West Africa to see if they operate a waste management system that incorporates locally constructed anaerobic digesters.