Environmental Security Implications of the Indiscriminate Disposal of
Municipal Solid Waste

Jenkins Macedo, BSc., M.A., Chief Investigator,
Master Research Thesis

Dr. Marianne Sarkis, Ph.D., Thesis Committee Chairperson
Dr. Anita H. Fábos, Ph.D., Member
Dr. Jude Fernando, Ph.D., Member


Liberian refugees have been seeking refuge at the Buduburam Refugee Settlement (BRS) in Ghana for more than two decades. There have been two successfully held elections in Liberia since the end of the 14-year civil war in 2003. Drawing from these elections, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) terminated all humanitarian assistance to Liberian refugees in hope of a return. In spite of this, Liberian refugees continue to live at the BRS in deplorable sanitary conditions. This thesis explores the environmental security implications of the indiscriminate disposal of municipal solid waste in the local environment at the BRS.

In this study, I used a mixed methods approach to collect data through personal observations, freelists, pilesorts, surveys, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups directed with refugees, state and non-state actors. Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) data were collected from the sanitation team of the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS) at the BRS and the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) to record waypoints of open dumpsites. The results indicate that the indiscriminate disposal of MSW in the local environment is associated with elevated increase of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), land pollution and the outbreak of water-borne diseases at the Buduburam Refugee Settlement.

Key Words: Liberian Refugees, Municipal Solid Waste, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, National Catholic Secretariat, UNHCR, Environmental Security, Sanitary, And Global Positioning System.

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