Tag Archives: solid wastes

Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan: cholera claims eight lives

Poor hygiene exacerbated by growing piles of rubbish and the current political crisis are all factors that haelth experts and residents say contributed to a dry-season cholera outbreak in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire. So far eight people out of 61 infected have died.

The first case – in Abidjan’s Adjamé District (a poor neighbourhood that has seen severe post-election violence in recent weeks) – was registered in mid-January [2011]; the major rains ended in November [2010]. Cholera has also affected the district of Williamsville.

“Across this region [West Africa] there are pockets of poverty where hygiene is poor and we see occasional outbreaks,” Mamadou D. Ball, WHO representative in Côte d’Ivoire, told IRIN. “The cholera bacterium is always present.”

Sandrine Touré, a health assistant in Williamsville, said she often sees children eating just after playing in rubbish. She added that many people, even in Abidjan, have no access to safe drinking water.

Since the political deadlock, household garbage is no longer being collected.

Even if families know that poor sanitation is linked to infectious disease, cholera was not much on people’s minds this time of year, said Soumaïla Traoré. “There is negligence in some communities. With the piles of rubbish people knew the threat of illness was real. But no one talked of cholera in this period.”

UNICEF and WHO are working with local health authorities to treat patients and promote better hygiene. advise communities on prevention. They are providing soap, cholera treatment kits and posters with prevention messages.

Source: IRIN, 31 Jan 2011

Nigeria: From Waste to Wealth

INITIALLY when many of them ventured into the job, they did it with all enthusiasm believing they had gotten a means of livelihood. Somehow midway, they became agents for armed robbers. And for many years, their actions have ruined families.

The story is simple.

As cart pushers, local name for refuse collectors, moved from house to house collecting disused items, they became familiar with their customers, their movements and their surroundings. With these, they sold information to underworld, whose members in turn targeted homes, attacked the residents and stole anything they could.

Anybody who refused to cooperate was either maimed or killed.

But these situations changed in 2008 with the organised private investors fully incorporated into solid waste collection through PSP by the Lagos State Government.

With this, ‘cart pushing’ business becomes illegal and patronising pushers is at patrons’ risk across the state.

Two years on, that single policy designs to complement the efforts of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), an agency in charge of solid waste management in the state, is today having a positive impact on peoples’ daily lives.

Now, 400 private firms are so far licensed by the government with about 15, 000 people gainfully engaged under the scheme. Nine thousands (9,000) of these were until recently unemployed. The rest used to be cart pushers.

They include truck drivers and their assistants, supervisors, office/account clerks, waste loaders and highway sweepers.

Each worker is paid a monthly salary ranging from N10, 000 to N40, 000 depending on the company and the type of duties.

Mr. Adelakun Joel, 28, is one of those enjoying his new work.

A supervisor with one of the firms, which he prefers not to be named, Adelakun says he lived at the mercy of good spirited people before joining his current place of work.

Though Adelakun’s income just as his colleagues is meagre, he is keeping part of it aside to enable him sponsor his part time studies in the university in the near future.

Similarly, Mama Rukayat as she prefers to be addressed is among the sweepers along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway at Abule-Egba area of Lagos.

She gets to work as early as 6.00am and sweeps alongside her colleagues an allocated portion in an interval of three hours and then closes for the day latest by 3.00pm.

The mother of two says the little income she earns enables her contributes to family’s welfare.

And as far as I know, she says in Yoruba, every other colleague does likewise.

From another angle, scavengers, who comb landfill sites to pick such items as metal, plastics, bottles, nylon, and papers, are now making more money.

The scheme, has enabled them to get large volume of needed items at one location, which they sell to middlemen, who in turn sell to traders and recycling factories.

This reporter observes at both Abule-Egba and Olusosun-Ojota landfill sites in Alimosho and Ikeja local government areas, respectively, the presence of many scavengers in possession of bags where they stored these items according to their kinds.

Read more – http://allafrica.com/stories/201005110833.html

Nigeria: Cities And Solid Wastes

Austin Nwangwu, 8 June 2009



All cities in Nigeria are presently fighting a losing battle against municipal solid wastes. This is no hyperbole and can easily be confirmed. It is as true for the Eastern states of Nigeria as for the West.

It is also a common feature in the North as it is in the South. Wherever one goes the storyline is the same – a daunting souvenir of open refuse dumps, sometimes mountains of them, displayed in odious visual ads. Cynical adverts of what we keep accumulating but do not need, assaulting the sight, doing their damned best to portray us as what we are: a stylish population living in slums; a fashion-conscious people having pigsties for homes; modern people in love with squalor!

Perhaps nothing captures the paradox of Nigeria’s romance with modernity as the way we have managed our solid waste. Whatever our governments claim to be doing about this festering sore ends up as expendable rhetoric. Simply put, we have failed woefully in keeping our cities clean, and have added to the long list of our management failures, the problem of solid wastes. As usual, the implications are neither well understood nor sufficiently appreciated at the policy-making levels of governance. An exception has to be made at this juncture for two cities, Calabar and Abuja, which have commendably become exceptions to the rule.

The vivid mementos of failure all over Nigeria cannot be missed. Failure in service delivery. Failure in managing even the most routine things, including our episodic success in sports. The failure in managing the wastes we generate, however, ranks as perhaps the most scathing.

There is, without a shred of doubt, systemic failure in waste management, with morbid consequences gnawing away at our public health status, aesthetics, self-worth and individual well-being. It appears that most governments and regulators in Nigeria see issues of waste generation and safe disposal as intractable. Yet what is obvious is a refusal to adopt commonsensical measures to address the root cause with a management-driven mindset. It is mostly a failure to understand what it takes to address the problem – efficient collection and safe disposal mechanisms. And, of course, commensurate fiscal deployment is imperative. At present it would seem that most governments see expenditure on refuse management as wasted. Without realizing it is a core index of performance for any administration, comparable to any other. And one that yields multilateral dividends.

Waste dumping and accumulation are common features of urban Nigeria, mostly because of attitudinal challenges. Exacerbated by our penchant for confronting first-rate problems, with a second-rate solutions. Many of our decision-makers see waste management as a dispensable option, not deserving of extra effort or focus. Yet, as a scorecard for any administration, it is second to none, as the result is there for all to see. It is one area where success is as glaring as failure. And there is no middle course!

A sanitary environment is desirable and will be easily appreciated by everyone – residents, visitors and tourists alike. And even an obstinate public will cooperate through source-reduction and sanitation tariffs when the governments begin to perform.

For years now, many nations of the world have adopted the integrated waste management approach to great effect. Waste processing has long become an economic endeavour in its own right, through the concept of waste-to-wealth, as solid wastes now become raw materials for industrial production. Biodegradable components are composted to become organic fertilizer and soil amendment. The non-biodegradable parts are recycled in processes of resource recovery. Sensitive solid wastes such as medical wastes are incinerated to safer-to-handle ashen components. Even hazardous fractions are compounded or packaged for safe disposal in well-engineered sanitary landfills. In some of the more modern approaches, solid wastes go through a special kind of incineration that yields electricity through a series of energy conversion processes.

These processes became possible because someone somewhere in societies that value human health, comfort and environmental quality invested time and resources to address waste management. And governments cooperated through grants and funding for research. It is obvious that we are loathsome about advancing research and intellectual rigour, which is why we remain a consuming nation, a copycat nation, grossly dependent on the more proactive and pragmatic economies for even the most basic needs. One then wonders why we prevaricate over adopting management approaches that have been successful in yielding great mileage in the environment sector everywhere else. Approaches that have the potential to conclusively address some of the core areas in which we have continued to score poorly – urban sanitation and employment, for example?

If this attitude does not bespeak laziness, then it must demonstrate the kind of intellectual dolefulness that puts to question the mental health of our policy makers and of those who claim to deliver democracy dividends, long since known to be illusory.

It bears repetition to insist that we have refused to copy, once again, in an area that adds value to society, putting to the fore, for the umpteenth time, our ill-concealed challenge of prioritization. For many governments, it is more hip to build modern estates, all because there are huge contracts to sign, with their pecuniary incentives. And, predictably, most of them become slums soon after, on account of poor waste management components in planning and execution. It is on record that most developments even in today’s Nigeria are executed without the statutory environmental evaluations. Which puts their sustainability in great jeopardy soon after.

One then begins to wonder what the regulators such as the Federal Ministry of Environment and the state equivalents are doing as our environment continues to experience accelerated degradation.

The answer is simple enough. It is found in the motive of those who award contracts. Their interests wane once they cut their deal. They shift their gaze to the next contract to reap from, rather than bother about the fate of previous ones. This level of neglect is boldly written on subsequent phases of project cycles: construction, commissioning, operation and abandonment. Only the contract signing phase matters. The scant regard given to commissioning is only cursory. To score political points, period!Other phases elicit no interest.

To be sure, no long-term development planning not fathomed with a full complement of environmental conservation principles will succeed. We, therefore, obviously labour in vain over the MDGs 2015, Vision 2020 and the Seven-Point Agenda. They all fly in the face of logic and common sense, because they are not founded on sound environmental frameworks.

It would appear that the many warnings about global warming and climate change are yet to hit home here. For most Nigerians, they are merely far-fetched fantasies of the developed world. Yet the impacts are becoming incrementally recognizable companions on these shores. This might be difficult to make out, though true: a modern solid waste management approach is a key way to mitigate their dire consequences. If only our governments will become more discerning!

Source – Daily Independent

USA – Solid Waste Industry Managing Trash as a Resource

Technological Innovation Turns Garbage into Energy, While Reducing Emissions, Says Industry Leader in Speech to Washington Economists

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Forget your old-fashioned ideas about the solid waste industry. It’s not just about hauling garbage anymore.

So said Bruce J. Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), in a speech today to the Society of Government Economists in Washington. NSWMA represents the private sector solid waste industry in the United States.

“Most Americans probably don’t recognize today’s garbage industry for who we really are – one of the most environmentally responsive and innovative industries in the nation,” said Parker. “The nearly 400,000 American men and women who work in the public and private sectors of our industry – in positions as varied as haulers, mechanics, civil engineers and environmental scientists – have long moved beyond simply picking up trash.”

“Americans throw out more than 250 million tons of garbage each year. Our industry continues to protect public health and the environment by managing this waste,” Parker said. “But in recent years, we’ve pioneered technologies that have changed the ways we deal with our trash. We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars, not only to modernize landfills and boost recycling rates, but also to cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and find renewable sources of energy that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Parker pointed to waste-based energy projects, which turn household garbage into clean, renewable energy. In addition to 87 waste-to-energy facilities operated by the industry – generating enough electricity to power 1.7 million homes – it also operates 470 landfill-gas-to-energy projects that provide electricity and heat for corporate and government users in 44 states. The U.S. EPA has identified an additional 520 landfills across the nation as potential candidates for similar energy projects.

“Landfill-gas-to-energy projects also address global warming by capturing methane, a potent greenhouse gas,” Parker noted. The EPA estimates that using methane as renewable, “green” energy brings environmental and energy benefits equivalent to eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions of 195 million barrels of oil a year. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted that landfill-gas recovery directly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Other industry initiatives include working with truck manufacturers to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles, investing in the development of alternative fuels such as biodiesel, compressed natural gas and ethanol, using renewable sources of energy such as solar to power compacting equipment, and placing solar panels and wind turbines on landfills to produce even more energy.

“Increasingly, the industry is relying on cleaner-burning fuels to power our fleet of 130,000 trucks,” Parker said. “We’re also looking toward hybrid technology to further reduce greenhouse emissions and improve air quality.”

Recycling and composting offer another important environmental success story, Parker said. The industry processed recycling for or composted slightly more than one third of all municipal solid wastes in 2007, conserving precious resources, protecting air and water from potential pollution and leading to a 2.5 percent reduction in America’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. EPA.

“The solid waste industry is proud of its environmental achievements, but there is much more to do. Our collective efforts have made a difference, and we continue to raise the bar,” Parker said.

NSWMA represents for-profit companies in North America that provide solid, hazardous and medical waste collection, recycling and disposal services, and companies that provide professional and consulting services to the waste services industry. For more information about how America’s solid waste management professionals are serving as environmental health and safety stewards, protecting our environment and serving our communities, please visit http://www.everydayenvironmentalists.org/environmentalists.

Source – Business Wire

Senegal, Dakar: slum uses garbage to stay dry

In Médina Gounass neighborhood of Guédiawaye, a slum on the outskirts of Dakar, people use garbage “to shore up their flood-prone houses and streets”. “Garbage, packed down tight and then covered with a thin layer of sand, is used to raise the floors of houses that flood regularly in the brief but intense summer rainy season, and it is packed into the dusty streets that otherwise become canals. The water lingers for months in the low-lying terrain of this bone-dry country. Garbage is a surrogate building material, a critical filler to deal with the stagnant water — cheap, instantly accessible and never diminishing. The plastic-laden spillover from these foul-smelling deliveries pokes up through the sandy lots, covers the ground between the crumbling cinder-block houses, becomes grazing ground for goats, playground for barefoot, runny-nosed children and breeding ground for swarms of flies. Disease flourishes here, aid groups say: cholera, malaria, yellow fever and tuberculosis”.

[…] “In an upside-down world where garbage is sought for and dumped among homes, not removed, “people have no alternatives; they are left to themselves; they can only count on themselves,” said Joseph Gaï Ramaka, a leading Senegalese filmmaker, who made a documentary [see below] about an incomplete government effort, the Plan Jaxaay, to build modern housing for people in vulnerable neighborhoods. 

Read more: Adam Nossiner, New York Times, 03 May 2009

Pakistan – Managing solid waste in the city: a dirty business

KARACHI: Environmentalists have warned that the approach of civic bodies towards solid waste management in Karachi will prove to be hazardous to the people living in the already congested city.

Spread over an area of 3,365 square kilometres, Karachi is the largest urban centre in Pakistan. The city houses more than 16 million people and is growing at a rate of approximately six percent, which is twice the national growth rate.

This unchecked influx of population has made it difficult for civic bodies and municipal institutions to effectively address the issue of waste management. However, as the urban environment continues to deteriorate, there is growing recognition of the need for a sanitation policy and sound operational strategies for dealing with the solid waste management problem.

According to Fareed Awan, leader of the Municipal Workers Trade Union Alliance, the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and the administrations of all 18 towns are responsible for transferring waste from dumpsites to the identified landfills.

“It seems they have failed to do their job,” rued Awan. Awan was referring to the recent 20-year agreement that the CDGK had signed with a Chinese firm, according to which the Chinese firm would manage solid waste in the city.

However, the foreign partner pulled out before the agreement was implemented. As part of the agreement, the Chinese firm would have had to invest Rs300 million to Rs350 million to build five transfer stations and purchase modren equipment to transfer the garbage to landfills in Surjani and Mowach Goth.

“The political change in the country may be a reason that the company pulled out of the deal,” said Awan. “Now, there are heaps of garbage everywhere, creating problems for the people.” On average, each person in Karachi produces between 300 and 600 grams of municipal waste per day. This amounts to 10,000 tons of solid waste per day, but 90 percent of it is recyclable.

“Uncollected solid waste has become a major health hazard, yet municipal waste management services may collect as little as 25 percent of the total refuse,” said Chander Parkash, head of Health Safety Environment, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation.

Parkash estimates that municipal services collect only 50 percent of the city’s daily waste. The rest remains at collection points and on dumping sites. According to him, overcrowded housing, lack of water and sanitation and a lack of proper disposal and waste-collection facilities have all contributed to the present state of the environment.

More – The News

Uganda: Latrine Crackdown in Pallisa District

HEALTH officials in Pallisa district have launched a crackdown on family heads whose homes have no pit-latrines and rubbish disposal pits.

The move, said Wilson Namungha, the district health inspector, was prompted by the recent cholera outbreak in the area that killed nine residents in five sub-counties.

The home-to-home operation, led by Namungha assisted by the sub-county and community health officials, had so far covered six sub-counties.

Namungha said the goats confiscated from the errant homes would be sold for money to hire people to construct latrines for them.

More – New Vision

South Africa – Pay-per-bag may be Cape’s new mantra

CAPE ELIZABETH (July 31, 2008): Cape Elizabeth town councilors are considering regulations that would decrease town waste disposal bills by cutting down the amount of waste Cape residents throw out.

The proposed regulations would create a so-called “pay-per-bag” system for residents, require businesses to handle their own waste and not use the Cape Elizabeth transfer station, require commercial haulers to use facilities other than the Cape transfer station and require town departments to improve their recycling efforts.

More – keepMEcurrent

India – Garbage Politics Spreads Stench

For a city that boasts of IT hegemony in the country, Bangalore has a dismal record of garbage management. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), whose obligatory function is to collect, transport and dispose of the municipal solid waste (MSW), is apparently caught up in the politics of one-upmanship.

On the garbage management, Rs 90 crore is spent annually. Recently, the chief minister B S Yeddyurappa commented that garbage contractors were a mafia. The contractors say they are being harassed by the officials without giving them adequate facility to dispose off the garbage. Here is an attempt to understand the riddle.

The MSW Story
The city generates about 3500 metric tonnes per day (MTD) or about 700 truck loads of MSW from house holds, markets, hotels and other commercial establishments. Before Greater Bangalore was formed, the Palike had floated tenders for collection and disposal of garbage in the 100 wards by constituting 30 packages of contracts. The annual cost of the services was estimated to be Rs 90 crore.

More – Deccan Herald

Kenya – UNEP joins Nairobi River clean-up campaign

June 18, 2008: The Nairobi Metropolitan Development ministry has entered into a technical arrangement with Unep to bring rapid results in green initiatives. The two immediate projects on their agenda are cleaning up of the Nairobi River and solid waste management.

Previous attempts to tackle the twin problems suffered from private sector apathy and lack of political will. “I feel this time it will work because of the political commitment which was not previously there,” said Achim Steiner, the Unep executive director.

The new ministry needs up to Sh4 billion to clean-up the 200km stretch covered by the three rivers passing through the capital city.

It also faces the challenge of coming up with innovative ways to manage solid waste which is an eyesore with only one dumping site in Dandora , on the outskirts of the city.

More – Business Daily Africa