Professor David C. Wilson
Waste & Resources Management Consultant
Visiting Professor in Waste Management
Imperial College, London

Measuring black carbon emissions from open burning of waste

Black carbon (BC) emissions from the open burning of municipal solid wastes (MSW) and other waste types contribute significantly to global heating but are not yet included in the official (IPCC) inventory of greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to poor data availability. Natalia Reyna has just completed her PhD thesis at Imperial College London, co-supervised by Professors David C Wilson and Stephen R. Smith, with the aim of generating reliable data to plug that gap. Our second and final paper was published last week in the leading journal Atmospheric Environment, providing a reliable methodology for measuring emission factors (EFs) for black carbon from waste burning. Our best estimate of the contribution of BC from the open burning of MSW to global heating is in the range 2-10% of global CO₂Eq emissions. Given the associated air pollution and health impacts, urgent global action is essential to eliminate open burning of waste; this will provide a relatively ‘quick win’ in tackling the climate emergency. The two papers have been submitted as evidence to the IPCC sixth assessment study due to be published in 2021.

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Benchmarking performance of SWM systems in East Africa

Professor David C Wilson has been working for the last two years with the Rwandan academic Telesphore Kabera to apply the Wasteaware indicators to benchmark performance of the solid waste management (SWM) and recycling system in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Their results form the basis of a paper published today in the first ever open access issue of the long established ISWA peer-reviewed journal Waste Management & Research. The paper uses previously unpublished results from the Wasteaware database to compare Kigali’s performance with four other East African capital cities – Dar-es-Salaam, Kampala, Nairobi and Maputo.

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DCW looks back on his CIWM Presidential year

Professor David C. Wilson’s final contribution to the CIWM Journal took the form of an interview in which he looked back on his Presidential year. This web-posting also includes an index of and links to his monthly columns for the CIWM journal, many of which were ‘think-pieces’ on issues in which he has been involved for years or even decades. Among the questions covered in the final interview were: has any topic dominated the year (yes, plastics – both marine plastics and the ‘China ban’); and what would be your advice to Enda Kiernan and future CIWM Presidents (‘Be true to yourself’ – which the editor also used as this month’s headline).

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DCW hands over the CIWM Presidency

Professor David C Wilson handed over the Presidency of CIWM, the UK and Irish professional body for resources and waste, to Enda Kiernan at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 13 November 2018. He highlighted plastics – both plastics entering the oceans and China’s ban on imports for recycling – as the dominant topic in his Presidential year. The public focus on marine plastics also helped dissemination of his Presidential report, the CIWM-Wasteaid Toolkit Making Waste Work; the website clocked 56,000 visits in its first year, with 7,000 downloads. DCW introduced his fellow Irishman, Enda Kiernan of Cork County Council as the next President. CIWM waited more than a century for its first Irish President; now we have had three in five years, and two in a row, although Enda is the first from the Republic of Ireland.

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Plastics – diabolic or fantastic?

In his October column for the CIWM Journal, Professor David C Wilson reflects on the dominant story of his CIWM Presidential year, how we respond to the crisis of plastics entering our oceans. Which plastic uses are diabolic and should be banned, and which do we really need? One of his starting points was a recent CIWM-sponsored report which proposed a five-fold use-based categorisation of plastics. The other was the July Klosters Forum, which gathered 60 stakeholders from around the World to brainstorm on how to stem the flow of plastics into the oceans.

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DW and MW

DCW awarded his CIWM Presidential Medal for 2018 to Mike Webster, the founder and CEO of the new charity Wasteaid, which is working directly with local communities to tackle the global waste crisis.

 

DCW with Irish Times

DCW handed over to Enda Kiernan at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 13th November 2018. The Gaelic Football team which Enda manages appeared in the lead photo story of the previous day’s Irish Times

 

DCW speech small_0453

Professor David C Wilson giving his inauguration speech as CIWM President 2017 at Church House Westminster in October 2017. His theme for the year was solid waste management as the forgotten utility service, underpinning modern society.

 

DCW commissioned WasteAid UK to prepare a practical toolkit for poor communities on how to make useful products from the low-value plastics and organics in their waste. In its first year, the website was visited 56,000 times, with 7,000 downloads of the toolkit.

 

ISWA Publication Award 2015

DCW with co-authors Ljiljana Rodic, Andy Whiteman, Costas Velis, Barbara Oelz, Joachim Stretz and Anne Scheinberg, receiving the Award from ISWA Scientific and Technical Committee Chair Antonis Mavropoulos (left), at the ISWA 2015 World Congress in Antwerp on Tuesday 08 September.