Reports & Publication

Brief on solid waste management in Pakistan

2014 | Pakistan Environmental Proection Agency

Solid waste collection by government owned and operated services in Pakistan's cities currently averages only 50\% of waste quantities generated; however, for cities to be relatively clean, at least 75\% of these quantities should be collected. Unfortunately, none of the cities in Pakistan has a proper solid waste management system right from collection of solid waste up to its proper disposal. Much of the uncollected waste poses serious risk to public health through clogging of drains, formation of stagnant ponds, and providing breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies with consequent risks of malaria and cholera.

Future waste - waste future

2014 | Sage

˜Future waste" is a term not yet established in the waste community; actually it is a paradoxon. ˜Future waste" is not dealing with current solid waste, but products that will become waste in the future. Due to advances in science and technology and priorities in politics, large quantities of these, often technologically complex, products have already entered the anthropogenic stock within a short period of time or are about to do so in the near future. As the majority of these items have relatively long life spans they will not immediately play an important role in waste management, however, once the product life time is over meaningful quantities of this ˜future waste" will be generated. At that time we need to have appropriate waste management solutions available as these wastes: (1) contain valuable resources (e.g. precious metals and critical raw materials, usually in very low concentrations) and (2) pose specific new challenges to prevent hazards associated with their treatment (e.g. nano-materials).


2013 | United Nations Environment Programme

The statistics are stark: 3.5 billion people, or half of the world’s population, are without access to waste management services, and open dumping remains the prevalent waste-disposal method in most low- and lower middle- Income countries. More than 1.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste were estimated to have been generated in 2012 and 2.2 billion tonnes a year are expected by 2025. Urbanization, industrialization, increasing population and economic development are all contributing to the rise in waste and also to its increasing complexity and hazardousness. 

Country Analysis Paper

2013 | UNCRD

Rapid growth of economic urbanization and industrial development are the cause of more concerns within solid waste management. In this regard, the Ministry of Environment is the institution responsible for protecting the environment and human health has developed the guidelines as well as related orders to solve the problems and enhance environmental quality in Cambodia that include: the development of legal instruments and related regulations. Refer to annual report conducted by Department of Pollution Control, solid waste collection and disposal at dumping sites in cities and districts is about 933,144 tones with increasing rate amount 10\% every year. In addition, the Royal Government of Cambodia is also pays great attention on this matter by releasing the mandate that no flying trashed plastic bags in the air along the street and this objective needs to be achieved by 2015 in all cities of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In addition, there are more activities have already put in place that include the contest of Clean City, Clean Resorts and Good Service, the establishment of the National Committee for Costal Management and Development of Cambodia and National Council for Green Growth of Cambodia. To implementation this order, Municipality of Phnom Penh has also established a Committee to implement the rubbish separation plan and also lead the penalty campaign for the people who throw the rubbish on the street or in the public area. 


2013 | Vietnam Ministry of resources and environment

Investigation of different amendments for dump reclamation in Northern Vietnam

2013 | Elsevier

Giant spoil dumps originate in the course of open-cast mining. The initial properties of Triassic spoil as well as pedogenesis are characterized by weathering processes. Due to the poor conditions in dump spoil a natural succession of plants or a re-vegetation is a lengthy process. The Chinh Bac field experiment (Ha Long City, Quang Ninh province, Vietnam) was planned to investigate the possible impacts of three amendments – charred rice straw, power station ashes and fine material originating from the mining area in combination with sieved spoil of substrate quality – to enhance plant growth. The main focus of this study was directed towards the impact of added amendments on spoil chemical parameters. The investigations demonstrated that simply sieving the spoil leads to better substrate conditions. It increases the fine material which in turn leads to easier plantation conditions. At the same time oxidative processes and leaching acid products are stimulated which raises the pH values afterwards. The application of charred rice straw increased the amount of alkaline cations, in particular potassium, boosting the pH value. This led to an enhanced supply of nutrients for the plants in comparison to the other amendment variations which were very poor in nutrient availability. Adding power station ash resulted in a short-term pH value increase, however potential pollution caused by heavy metals cannot be ruled out. The pyrite containing fine material was identified as the poorest amendment. It may allow vegetation to grow quickly, however the proceeding weathering processes cause a strong acidification. This mobilizes heavy metal and aluminum ions which prevent healthy plant growth.

National state of Environment 2011 - Solid waste

2013 | Centre For Environmental Monitoring Portal Vietnam Environment Administration

The process of industrialization in Vietnam is currently taking place rapidly with the formation and development of many production sectors and increased needs for goods, materials, and energy, boosting national socio-economic development. However, this has resulted in serious concerns about the environment, especially the handling of solid waste including domestic waste, industrial waste, agricultural waste, medical waste, construction waste, and hazardous waste. The collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of solid waste have become a headache for managers in almost all countries in the world, particularly in developing economies such as Vietnam. In Vietnam, sustainable solid waste management is one of the 7 priority programs of the “National strategy for environmental protection until 2010 and vision toward 2020” and one of the priority contents of the development policy of Agenda 21 - Vietnam strategic orientation for sustainable development. With the aim of evaluating solid waste-related issues in Vietnam in recent years, development trends and challenges, proposing solutions and recommendations to resolve such issues in the years to come, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has chosen“Solid waste” as the topic for the National State of Environment Report 2011.

Resources, guides and templates

2013 | Metropolitan Waste Management Group

MWMG encourages the adoption of best practice approaches to waste management and resource recovery. Click on the links below to access a range resources including templates and best practice guidelines. More details...

Flaming landfill: changing waste disposal in the Stans

2013 | isonomia

In a previous Isonomia piece we explored some of the problems of municipal solid waste collection in the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia known collectively as the ‘Stans’: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In this second piece we turn our attention to what happens once this waste has been collected, examining the pitfalls encountered in attempts to improve waste treatment and disposal infrastructure in these countries.   Informal infernos The main disposal method in the region is landfilling in locations which were strategically selected during the Soviet Era. A typical Central Asian landfill can be identified by its dry appearance and the presence of several smoke plumes; the latter a useful characteristic for identifying them on satellite images. The burning can be the accidental result of embers that are collected from roadside shashlik (barbequed meat skewers) stands typical in the region. However, landfill burning only occurs on those landfills where scavenging is condoned, which admittedly is the great majority of them. We use the term “scavenging” without derogatory intent, in preferences to alternatives such as “informal recycler” or “waste picker”. Though more politically correct, they are either technically inaccurate (since recycling does not happen at the landfill) or seem inadequate (because they do not reflect the dire conditions in which the activities in question take place).   Kokshetau landfill (Northern Kazakhstan): Fresh waste delivery (and some sorted cardboard) on the left and “thermally pre-treated waste” awaiting subsequent metal recovery on the right.   Although embers may be the true cause of some fires, more often than not they are started intentionally by scavengers as a kind of “informal thermal treatment” applied for better access to various kinds of scrap metal. Setting freshly delivered waste loads on fire is a standard practice in the region, applied to entire loads as well as pre-sorted fractions. Stopping this practice – which requires nothing more than a committed site operator – would vastly improve health conditions for all those working and living on or near the landfill – and generally, these two groups overlap substantially.   Nomadic landfills When upgrading a dis­posal site is proposed, a common issue is the attitude of some local decision makers who want to ‘move on’ from the current landfill and find a new location. Generally, this understandable desire stems from being confronted with complaints mainly about smoke and poor visual aesthetics. However, moving the landfill does not solve the essence of the problem, which comes down to management techniques and commitment levels. The poor operation of the landfills is not a story from which the Stans emerge with too much credit. Nevertheless, the existing landfill sites are generally logically located, within a reasonable distance from the city centre, and while the way they are managed may cause some problems for those living nearby, properly run they would pose mini­mal threat to the environment. Finding a better location is unlikely as each city has expanded since the Soviets centralised disposal in the late 1970s and 80s. Apart from increasing transportation costs, moving to a new landfill requires two major investments: building the new landfill and cleaning up the existing one. From an urban planning point of view, a move also results in two areas being devalued. The less nomadic approach – extending the existing site with up-to-date landfill standards and an integrated clean-up – requires much less monetary input, by a ballpark factor of 1.5, leaving more resources to invest elsewhere, such as improvements to the collection system. It is usually the “harder sell” but must not be overlooked in a landfill improvement project’s start-up phase.   That sinking feeling Landfill projects are not the only disposal schemes where ambition runs ahead of the capability of the creaking systems in the Stans to operate them successfully. Such schemes have a high risk of generating sunken investments, damaging donor reputations, and adding costs for beneficiaries. Companies that struggle with institutional capacity focus mainly on the trans­portation of waste and not on disposal methods. It is unlikely they will be able to maintain operation of a technically advanced system in an environmentally safe way. Incinerators for stray dogs are an example of prevalent constituents of procurement lists that are almost guaranteed to turn into such losses. However, the underlying reason for becoming a sunken investment is much more fundamental and human: people tend to solve problems only after they start to suffer from them. Currently, nobody suffers from the dead dogs that are deposited at the landfill (where they can be safely buried) and it is therefore likely the beneficiaries will end up preferring to save on the fuel it takes to operate such an incinerator. Ironically, the incinerator itself ends up as a dead dog.   Contain yourself: to some eyes, a disposal container in Khujand, North Tajikistan can look like a dwelling.   Even something as simple as a move to containerise more waste can run up against local issues in countries so beset with poverty. Large containers have multiple possible uses, and in the picture above the local citizen, to the left in the photo, has confused the disposal container with a private house. Another example of unrealistic expectations is the dream of becoming rich from waste; a common misconception on the part of both donors and beneficiaries, over optimism about the financial rewards of material recovery have made recycling plants a reoccurring item on solid waste management projects’ shopping lists. In Tajikistan, energy saving light bulbs are widely used in even the poorest households. Recently there has been a local wish for the construction of a recycling plant solely dedicated to this specific (moreover hazardous and virtually unrecyclable) perceived problem solver. A recycling plant is often thought of as a modern Western solution that will bring prosperity and popularity when in reality the payback period will exceed the facility’s expected lifespan. The clash between the ambitions of donors and funders and the realities of waste management in the Stans is perhaps best exemplified by the donors’ regular insistence that clients must implement an Environmental Manage­­ment System (such as ISO 14001). Many donors rightfully expect their investment projects to meet high environmental standards, but fail to see that in the Stans there is an inverse relationship between the emphasis on meeting ‘Western’ environmental standards and the affordability to beneficiaries of implementing them. Though under­standable, compliance with ISO 14001 it is much too ambitious for most projects in the Stans, and the attempt to meet funders’ requirements wastes valuable time and effort. Improvement in waste management in the Stans is possible, and there are projects that deliver real benefits. However, both the projects and the standards to which they are held need to be appropriate to their environment and recognise the cultural and social setting in which they are being implemented. The application of less technically ambitious projects and softer standards would create more sustainable solutions at a faster rate, while recognising that it is impossible to leapfrog certain stages of development.   Natasha Sim and Martin Steiner

Reforming waste dump in Bishkek

2013 | Central European University

According to some estimates more than 15 million people worldwide depend on retrieving recyclable materials from the waste stream. Recent works on waste pickers have largely been produced by the 'consultant view' in development sphere. These works mainly argue (i) that waste pickers are poor and vulnerable (ii) that empowerment through formalization and normalization will lead to improved income and recognition (iii) that support to and integration of manual waste picking is means towards sustainable development in developing countries.