The management of municipal solid waste is one of the major challenges worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Effective solid waste management to reduce health risks and improve living conditions while putting people at the centre of planning, implementation, and monitoring is a core concern of WSSCC.

Inadequate collection, recycling, or treatment and uncontrolled disposal of waste in landfills lead to severe hazards, such as spread of disease and environmental pollution. A total waste management approach – of excreta and solid waste, as well as the efficient management of urban drainage systems – would reduce such hazards.

Such an approach includes social, financial, administrative, and political factors. The integrated and sustainable solid waste management (ISWM) approach incorporates these factors and even stretches beyond the usual technical, financial, and equipment-oriented approaches to encompass the 'softer' aspects of the system, such as marketing to promote behaviour change.

The problems of proper solid waste management might seem to outshine opportunities, however there is a huge informal sector involved that collects and re-sells ‘waste’ materials such as glass, metal, wood, and plastics. Furthermore, at the municipal level, solid waste often contains more than 50% organic matter that is valuable as compost.

Enhancing resource recovery activities at an early stage (as close to the source as possible) through appropriate treatment technologies, is an excellent way to reduce levels of solid waste (thereby reducing costs of transport and disposal) and create economic benefits.

The Collaborative Working Group (CWG), of which WSSCC is actively involved, calls for a total waste management approach and is committed to good governance, capacity building, networking and knowledge sharing on this issue.

Last updated: Thu, 11/04/2010 - 16:55