With every year passing by, the world takes huge
steps towards urbanization. This increasing urban lifestyle produces waste as a
by-product. The current estimate of the world cities waste generation is about
1.3 billion tonnes per year and this value is said to increase to 2.2 billion
tonnes by 2025. Consequently the waste management costs would get doubled too.
This would cause a huge blow to the economy of the low income countries. A
strong link exists between urbanisation, solid waste produced and pollution.
Hence a poor waste management could not only affect the health but also the
local and global environment and finally the economy. Finding ways to dispose
and manage this solid waste is a growing concern for the nations,
municipalities, corporations and individuals around the world and the global
community at large. This paper is a review of the solid waste management techniques
that were practiced in the past followed by the current solid waste management
techniques being practiced in low income, developing and developed countries;
the problems associated with them and the framework of the integrated solid
waste management approach.

History of solid waste:

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It said that as
late as 10,000 B.C the first human societies were formed, this automatically
lead to the production of solid waste. Health concerns, scarcity of resources
and aesthetics were the main driving forces for the initiation of a proper
waste management system. The communities initially started burying the waste in
and around their settlements but as the population grew this method wasn’t
enough to prevent the spread of odour and diseases. This caused the communities
to come up with better and effective methods for disposing the waste. By 2000
B.C, the Indus Valley Civilization was the first to have a well-functioning
drainage system i.e the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro. The Greeks came next in
finding solutions as they banned waste on the streets in 500 B.C and then
followed the Chinese; they had various waste officers appointed as early as 200
B.C. However there was no segregation of the waste and it was all being dumped all
together and this was one of the main reason for the spread of various
diseases. The Black Death in Europe, which occurred in the early1300s, is said
to have been caused due to the dumping of waste on the streets. After this huge
outbreak many initiatives were put into place for the proper disposal of the
waste but these turned out to be ineffective because the poor were focused on
feeding themselves and the rich didn’t want to pay to clean up. However due to
insufficient resources people were forced to recycle and reuse items. When SWM
progress finally began, it was driven by five principal factors: public health,
the environment, resource scarcity and the value of waste, climate change, and
public awareness and participation.

 

 

SWM in
developing countries:

 

The rapid increasing population and its
associated waste generation increase are causing a lot of problems in most of
the developing countries as they can’t cope with this sudden increase.

In these countries, when the basic need
of surviving is a great concern; it is hard for waste management to make its
way as a top priority. Although, this has changed now. Providing a proper solid
waste management is one of the most import services the government has to
provide to its citizens. It single handedly takes up a huge portion in the
budget list. Lack of technical skills among the government and municipal
authorities is one of the technical factors that affect the system. And they
fail to provide a better solid waste management because they also lack
financial means. One of the driving forces for developing a better approach was
the clean development program under the Kyoto protocol. ‘Carbon credits’
provided these developing countries the necessary economy required.

The current solid waste management
techniques used in most of the developing countries are landfills and
incineration. Open dumping of waste is still practiced is some of these
developing countries. The problem that arises with incineration is that it is
not cost effective and it requires high amounts of energy. The burning of
various components of the waste can also cause air pollution. The ash produced
from incineration has to be disposed well. When it comes to landfills, it not
only requires land availability but also causes health hazards to the people
living around the land. Open dumping creates a breeding spot for a wide variety
of disease causing insects. It does produce a huge quantity of methane gas
which is a deadly greenhouse gas.

In order to
overcome these problems large number of studies were conducted from 2005 to
2011 to review the solid waste management techniques and the problems
associated with them in these countries. From these reviews, the Integrated
Sustainable Waste Management Model was introduced

 

Integrated solid waste management in developing
countries and developed countries:

This majorly emerged from the increasing
problems that were created from landfilling. This system strives to develop an
approach that is not only effective but affordable and acceptable socially. It
analyses the various problems involved waste management by integrating each and
every aspect. ‘Waste’ is often seen as a negative concept whereas in ISWM the
term waste is only used when it can’t be used as resource.

The word integrated means to combine
components that are separate into one process. In the context of solid waste,
integration means that various elements are integrated into a single treatment
process.

 

In the early 1990s, when most of the
conventional approaches to waste management were failing in the developing and
low-income countries; a workshop was held in Switzerland. During this period,
the Dutch government funded WASTE which undertook a six-year Urban Waste
Expertise Programme (UWEP). This further built the concept of integrated
sustainable waste management (ISWM). Along the year 2000s this concept got more
refined. Furthermore the second phase of the UWEP resulted in making sure that
ISWM had to be used as a tool for a methodological assessment.

This approach focuses on the various
physical and technical components of the waste system. It further analyses the
problems involved in planning and managing sectors, which include strategies,
active participation of the public and son on. The three dimensional approach
of ISWM is as shown in the figure.

 

 

The framework of
ISWM:

For the ISWM to
fulfil its tasks efficiently it should focus on two main components, which are

1.     
Physical components:

·        
Public health: this is one of the main
drivers for a proper waste collection system. Comparing data about the waste
from different countries showed that irrespective of the income of the country
there was a high percentage of plastics in the waste.

These
plastics clog up the drains which cause floods and this automatically leads to
water borne diseases. Such a situation has occurred in most of the cities in
the developing countries and low-income countries. This made the countries take
the decision to impose a ban on plastics.

Statistically,
it has also been proven that children develop higher rates of diarrhoea and
acute respiratory infections when the waste is either dumped or burned close to
their homes when compared to the children who live in a household with a better
and regular waste collection system.

Waste collection is such an important
factor that the law requires it to be provided for the entire society,
regardless of the interest of the market to supply it or the users’ ability (or
willingness) to pay for it. The key to a good waste collection system is the
percentage of the population that has an access to it. In principle this should
be 100% however 30-60% of the solid waste in the developing countries remains
uncollected. But this percentage is slowly reducing as cities and countries in
general have come up with better and efficient collection systems. To achieve
maximum vehicle load for the local roads, compaction is not required for the
developing countries as their waste is significantly wetter and denser because
when compared to the developed countries 67% of their waste consists of organic
matter. The reasons for failure in the developing countries in this sector are
unavailability of spare parts that are required for the vehicles used for
collection. Most of these developing countries import these vehicles. Weak infrastructure
is another cause for failure.