Tag Archives: solid wastes

How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction?

How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction? | Source: The Guardian, Oct 5 2016 |

Based on analysis we conducted, there are five targets needing complete turnaround: reducing inequality, limiting slum populations, reducing waste, combating climate change and protecting marine environments.


Waste, and slum populations, are projected to double in some areas by 2030 – despite sustainable development goal targets to reduce them. Photograph: Kibae Park#111904/Flickr Vision

Reduce income inequality – target 10.1
Income inequality is set to worsen globally if current trends continue. Four out of five people live in countries where the bottom 40% has experienced slower growth than the average. Globally, since 2000, the bottom 40% has grown around half a percentage point slower than the average rate of growth annually.

Reduce slum populations – target 11.1
The number of people living in slums continues to rise, if the numbers follow their current course they are predicted to rise from 850 million today to over 1 billion people by 2030. The vast majority of this increase is due to take place in sub-Saharan Africa, where slum populations will almost double.

Reduce waste – target 12.5
Projections show that the total amount of solid waste generated globally will almost double from 3.5 million tonnes a day in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2025. Projected growth is mainly driven by emerging market economies in east and south Asia where waste generation is forecast to triple, and other developing countries where it is projected to double. This of course is on top of what is already quite a high level per capita in OECD countries.

Combat climate change – target 13.2
While this target does not refer to a quantifiable indicator, reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions is a useful proxy. Significant growth of greenhouse gases is projected to occur in emerging markets, on top of already high levels in OECD countries. These emissions need to be reduced in order for the world to be able to address climate change effectively.

Protect marine environments – target 14.2
Projections show that 90% of reefs will be under threat by 2030, up from a starting point of 75% in 2007. While harmful coastal practices like overfishing are of current concern, part of the increased threat is due to anticipated thermal stress and acidification linked to carbon emissions.

Read the complete article.

ISWA warns of global waste crisis

ISWA warns of global waste crisis | Source: Resource, Feb 24 2016 |

The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is calling on governments and organisations to broaden their understanding of the global waste crisis following a recent focus on the issue of marine plastics. iswa

The issue of marine plastic pollution has received significant attention recently, with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Report, ‘The New Plastics Economy’ estimating that there will be more plastics than fish (by weight) in the world’s oceans by 2050, and the documentary A Plastic Ocean investigating the global effects of plastics disposal.

However, ISWA emphasises that marine plastic is just one type of waste seeping into the land, sea and air, often from unregulated sites. With the growth in population far greater than the implementation of waste management systems to service them, the association, an international network of waste management associations, warns that the problem is likely to deteriorate unless coordinated action is taken on a global level.

In a statement released last week (19 February), ISWA expressed its wish to remind governments and organisations that the waste generated by nearly three billion people is not collected into a formal waste management process. Approximately 40 per cent of the world’s total waste is dumped in unregulated ‘open sites’ such as the banks of rivers or stretches of coastline.

Read the complete article.


EAWAG course – Municipal Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries

Sign up and find further information about the course here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/mswm

The course is offered for free and starts on 22 February 2016. You can watch videos in English with French and Spanish subtitles, test your knowledge with quizzes, participate in the forum, and earn a Statement of Accomplishment.

This course is one of four in the series “Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development”. Please visit our webpage for more information: http://www.eawag.ch/mooc

Open dumps a global health emergency

ISWA CALLS OPEN DUMPS A ‘GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY  | | Source:  by Thomas Dimech | Resource, 8 September 2015 |

A new report by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is highlighting the ‘global health emergency’ affecting tens of millions of people in developing countries who lack good sanitation infrastructure. iswa

The report, ‘Wasted Health: The Tragic Case of Dumpsites’, illustrates how the issues surrounding open dumpsites in the developed world 40 years ago are still prevalent in developing countries, but are also being compounded by unprecedented issues such as the unregulated accumulation of discarded electronics, mobile phones, and medical waste.

Some of the main problems identified in the report include:

  • open dumpsites receive roughly 40 per cent of the world’s waste and serve about 3.5 to 4 billion people;
  • there has been a substantial rise in unregulated dumping of mobile devices, electronic appliances, medical and municipal waste, accelerating the scale of the threat and health risks;
  • uncontrolled burning of waste releases gases and toxins into the atmosphere;
  • open waste sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines are more detrimental to life expectancy than malaria;
  • 64 million people’s lives (equal to the population of France) are affected by world’s 50 largest dumpsites;
  • in addition to the human and environmental impacts, the financial cost of open dumpsites runs into the tens of billions of US dollars.

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Cairo: Finding its own way in waste collection

Cairo: Finding its own way in waste collection – Danish Architecture Centre | Source/complete article: Sustainable Cities, Jan 2014

Excerpts – For decades, much of Cairo’s waste has been resourcefully collected and reused by a poor working class known as the Zabbaleen. After a failed attempt to modernise and sanitize this system by bringing in foreign waste-collecting companies, some major advantages to developing a sustainable, economically logical and uniquely Cairo waste-collecting system have become clear.

Skraldebyen Ezbet El Nakhl, Af Creap, 9. maj 2005, Flickr, Creative Commons, Foto # 13067241

Skraldebyen Ezbet El Nakhl, Af Creap, 9. maj 2005, Flickr, Creative Commons, Foto # 13067241

Since the 1950’s, a group of lower class garbage collectors known as the Zabbaleen have wandered the city of Cairo, Egypt, using donkey carts to pick up waste left on the streets. After bringing this waste to their homes that collectively make up Cairo’s “garbage city” the waste it is sorted and eventually turned into quilts, rugs, pots, paper, livestock food, compost, recycled plastic products such as clothes hangers, and much more. Reusing and recycling about 85% of all waste that they collect, the Zabbaleen have far surpassed the efficiencies of even the best Western recycling schemes, which, under optimal conditions, have only been able to reuse 70% of all material.

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UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’ | Source: Environmental Leader – Oct 10 2013

Recycling and waste treatment can be a “gold mine,” perhaps literally, according to a UN report that finds treated waste can be put to profitable use. un-landfills

For example, 1 metric ton of electrical and electronic wastecontains as much gold as 5 to 15 metric tons of typical gold ore, and amounts of copper, aluminum and rare metals that exceed by many times the levels found in typical ores. As a result, printed circuit boards are probably the “richest ore stream you’re ever going to find,” according to the Guidelines for National Waste Management Strategies: Moving from Challenges to Opportunities.

Many waste products can be reused and, if waste is separated at source, the uncontaminated organic fraction can be composted or digested anaerobically, the report says.

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Two young scientists break down plastics with bacteria

Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao have identified a new bacteria that breaks down nasty compounds called phthalates, common to flexible plastics and linked to health problems. And they’re still teenagers.