Thirty years ago, waste management was seen as essentially a technical discipline. However, throughout his career Professor David C Wilson has focused not only on the technical, but also on the ‘softer’ aspects of institutional strengthening, capacity building including training, regulatory control systems, cost recovery and private sector participation as key aspects of building on existing waste management systems.
DCW has been intimately involved in the development over the last 10 years of a more integrated and sustainable approach to solid waste management, which is now the mainstream. One of the key reference documents is his Strategic Planning Guide for Municipal Solid Waste Management, which includes both guidance on institutional aspects, finance and cost recovery and public awareness and education. The SPG also provides access to other reference documents on technical guidance and private sector participation in SWM.
DCW has also been instrumental in developing the most comprehensive set of guidance documents yet available, in the context of the METAP/ World Bank Regional Solid Waste Management Project in North Africa and the Near East. These include a Decision Maker’s Guide: guidelines, case studies, implementation tools and training modules covering policy, institutional and legal issues; finance and cost recovery; private sector participation; and public awareness and community participation; plus training modules also on planning, technical options and project development. All these are available interactively on a modern web portal, in English, French and Arabic.
DCW is currently involved in ISSOWAMA, a network for knowledge sharing to promote the development and implementation of Intergrated Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Asia. ISSOWAMA is funded by the European Commission as a coordination action under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and will run for 30 months from January 2009.
Waste pickers on a Bangkok dumpsite, 1987 (Photo © Prof David C Wilson). Many thousands of people in developing country cities depend for their livelihoods on recycling materials from waste. With the focus of the Millenium Development Goals on poverty reduction, and of waste strategies on improving recycling rates, a major challenge in SWM in developing countries is how best to work with the informal sector to improve their livelihoods, working conditions and efficiency in recycling. DCW has published a major review of informal sector recycling, in a special issue of Habitat International, on Urban waste management as if people matter; and also a paper on Building Recycling Rates through the informal sector.