There is an old saying which is more than relevant in today's world. "Waste not, want not". As global leaders and local communities are increasingly calling for fixes for the "throwaway culture". However beyond individuals and households, waste does pose a persistent challenge that affects human health, environment, livelihood, and prosperity.
Solid Waste Management is a universal issue that matters to every single nation, individual, and country. With over 90% of waste in low-income countries, it is the poor and most vulnerable who are disproportionately affected. In recent years, landfill landslides have buried homes and people under piles of waste. And it is the poorest who often live near waste dumps and power their city’s recycling system through waste picking, leaving them susceptible to serious health repercussions.
“Poorly managed waste is contaminating the world’s oceans, clogging drains and causing flooding, transmitting diseases, increasing respiratory problems from burning, harming animals that consume waste unknowingly, and affecting economic development, such as through tourism,” said Sameh Wahba, World Bank Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience.
According to a recent report and survey, the world generated close to 2.01 Billion tonnes of municipal waste annually, with at least 33% of them not managed adequately. How much Trash is that in relevance? Let's take plastic waste, which is findings it's place in the oceans and constituting close to 90% of the marine debris. It is estimated that in 2016 alone, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste which is equivalent to about 24 trillion 500 millimeters, 10-gram plastic bottles. The water volume of these bottles can fill up close to 2,400 Olympic stadiums. The weight is equivalent to 3.4 million adult blue whales.
At Source Reduction & Reuse
Waste minimization and sustainable use/multiuse of products
Processing of non-biodegradable waste to recover commercially valuable materials
Processing of biodegradable waste to recover compost
Waste to Energy
Recovering energy before final disposal of waste
Safe disposal of inert residual waste at sanitary landfills after recycling and reuse to the maximum extent possible
Waste Minimization in the ISWM Hierarchy
Almost all cities in the South Asia region practice some open dumping, but cities are increasingly developing sanitary landfills and pursuing recycling. Most cities hire private contractors or nongovernmental organizations to collect waste from neighborhoods and institutions and pay collectors based on the amount of waste transported to disposal sites. Although rules and regulations have been developed at national and state levels, these criteria are still being translated into practice and accountability structures at the city level.
The Need Of The Hour
Financing Waste Management
Solid Waste Management is a significant challenge today. Regional governments are ramping up the financial infrastructure to support sustainable models.
Reducing Carbon, Increasing Resilience
Improving waste management will allow localities to be resilient to extreme climate occurrences, displaces ecosystem and damage infrastructure
Focus on Data, Planning & Infrastructure
With a focus on data, local authorities can make crucial waste management financing, policies and infrastructure
Organization and Efficiency of Waste Management Value Chains
It is critical to understand how much and where is generated- as well as the type of waste being generated. This enables local governments to realistically allocate budget and land, access technologies, and identify & prioritize strategic level partnerships for strategic provisions such as the private or non-governmental organizations.
With a focus on data, countries can make critical solid waste management financing, policy and planning decisions. Some of the solutions include:
Supporting major waste-producing municipalities to reduce consumption of plastics and marine litter through comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs
Reducing food waste through consumer education and awareness programs
Providing finances to municipalities most in need, especially the fastest-growing localities to develop state-of-the-art waste management systems