UNEP launch their Global Waste Management Outlook

Professor David C Wilson, the editor-in-chief, presented UNEP’s Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO) at its launch at the ISWA World Congress in Antwerp on Monday 7th September. The GWMO provides the first comprehensive global overview of the state of waste management around the world in the 21st century. It sets out a series of five Global Waste Management Goals and a call for action addressed to individuals, businesses, governments and the international community. There are three main GWMO Outputs, with the main report of around 300 pages being accompanied by an 8-page infographic Summary for Decision Makers and a 2-page flyer for a general audience. The main report can be downloaded here, and the summaries (plus the latest Regional Waste Managment Outlooks) here.

Waste management is a key utility service and a critical element of the infrastructure that underpins Society – it is often rated in the top three priorities faced by developing country cities – but, tends also to be ‘taken for granted’ and does not often appear towards the top of national or international political agendas. This was recognised at the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit in 2012, following which the UNEP Governing Council requested UNEP: ‘to develop a global outlook of challenges, trends and policies in relation to waste prevention, minimization and management … to provide guidance for national policy planning’.

Waste management is a cross-cutting issue impacting on many aspects of society and the economy. It has strong linkages to a range of other global challenges such as health, climate change, poverty reduction, food and resource security and sustainable production and consumption. The five Global Waste Management Goals set out in the GWMO are all to be found within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (agreed by the world’s leaders in New York just a couple of weeks after the launch of the GWMO), but making progress toward them would contribute to achieving 11 out of 17 SDGs.

The GWMO estimates that around 2 billion people worldwide lack access to a basic waste collection service, while around 3 billion lack access to controlled disposal services for municipal solid wastes. So the first two Global Waste Management Goals are to ensure by 2020 access for all, to adequate, safe and affordable solid waste collection services; and (2) to stop uncontrolled dumping and open burning. Goal 3 takes this one step further, by 2030 to achieve sustainable and environmentally sound management of all wastes, particularly hazardous wastes. As part of the Global Call for Action, the GWMO is calling on the international community to mobilise international aid, and environmental and climate funds, to assist the poorest countries to provide basic waste services to all in urban areas. Specifically, to increase the proportion of funding directed to waste management by a factor of 10, from the 0.3% achieved over the last decade.

The remaining Global Waste Management Goals focus: (4) on ensuring by 2030 a substantial reduction in waste generation through prevention and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), thereby creating green jobs; and more specifically, (5) cutting by a half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses in the supply chain.

The technologies required to ‘solve’ the waste problem are largely already available, and have been much written about. The GWMO has chosen rather to focus primarily on the less fashionable ‘governance’ issues which need to addressed to establish a sustainable solution –including the regulatory and other policy instruments, the partnerships and, crucially, the financing arrangements– and to provide a ‘toolkit’ to be used in developing a solution appropriate to the local situation.

The GWMO has been prepared by an international team for UNEP’s International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) and ISWA. It is the result of two year’s work, including broad international peer review of three main drafts. The team was headed up by DCW as editor-in chief and lead author. The lead author of the data review chapter was Dr Prasad Modak, EMC India; waste governance, Dr Ljiljana Rodic, Wageningen University; and waste financing, Reka Soos, RWA Romania. Other co-authors were Ainhoa Carpintero, IETC (project manager); Dr Costas Velis, University of Leeds (Academic advisor); Professor Mona Iyer, CEPT University, India (Case study editor) ; and Otto Simonett, Zoi Environment (Communications advisor).

Official launch of the GWMO

Official launch of the GWMO

Madam Oyun launching the GWMO

Madam Oyun launching the GWMO

DCW presenting the GWMO at the Ministerial launch

DCW presenting the GWMO at the Ministerial launch

DCW launching the GWMO

DCW launching the GWMO

DCW public lecture and webinar in London

Professor David C Wilson will be presenting a talk on Integrated Sustainable Waste Management in Developing Countries on Monday 16 March 2015. This is part of the Thomas Telford Prestige Lecture Series at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) – these are public lectures on selected Monday evenings from January through to April from 1800-1935 at the ICE in Great George Street. Improving solid waste management is a major challenge in developing countries. There are many serious problems but no universal answer. Solutions need to be developed locally and tailored specifically to local needs and conditions. The lecture is also available to watch live online with the opportunity to pose questions. Follow the links to register to either attend in person or watch online.

The five lectures in the series are all based on award winning papers from the ICE publication awards – the related paper by David C Wilson, Costas Velis and Ljiljana Rodic won the ICE Telford Premium Medal 2014, acknowledging it as one of the top papers across all the ICE journals. It was published in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Waste and Resource Management journal and is free to download.

Municipal solid waste management is one of the major responsibilities of a city government, and an essential utility service that we all tend to take for granted. Uncollected solid wastes present a public health risk – either directly to children living with waste piles, or breathing the smoke from uncontrolled burning – or indirectly through blocked drains and water courses providing stagnant water and breeding grounds for infectious diseases, or causing widespread flooding. When collected, it is necessary for wastes to be subject to environmentally sound management – large scale uncontrolled disposal can result in serious air, water, land and ocean pollution. The challenges facing developing country cities are growing fast: populations are rising, people are migrating from rural areas to the cities, waste generation per capita is increasing as economies grow and the nature of the waste is changing – many cities in Africa and Asia expect their waste quantities to double within 20 years.

This paper presents the results of six years’ work to benchmark the performance of cities around the world in tackling their solid waste management. Our data show that performance has improved significantly since 2000; from a relatively low baseline, it is already commonplace to achieve 95% rates of collection coverage and controlled disposal in middle-income cities, and 50% in low-income cities. However many challenges remain in the lower income countries – so much so that the continuing lack of basic services to billions worldwide has been described as ‘the solid waste emergency’.

How can we rise to this challenge? Solutions need to address both the physical components – collection, disposal, recycling – and the governance aspects – inclusivity of users and service providers; financial sustainability; and coherent, sound institutions underpinned by proactive policies. Our results show that recycling rates of 20-30% are achieved by the informal sector in many lower income countries, at no direct cost to the city authorities – presenting a major opportunity for all key stakeholders to develop win-win solutions to the benefit of all.

The evidence suggests that efficient, effective and affordable systems are those tailored to local needs and conditions, developed with direct involvement of service beneficiaries. Despite the remaining challenges, evidence of recent improvements suggests that sustainable solid waste and resources management is feasible for developing countries.

Parallel publications include the UN-Habitat book on Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities; the paper of SWM in 20 cities; and anaccount of the ‘Wasteaware’ ISWM indicator set for benchmarking the performance of a city’s solid waste management system.

‘Wasteaware’ benchmark indicators to measure the performance of a city’s SWM system

As the culmination of five year’s work by a large team around the world, DCW is delighted to announce the publication today, in the peer reviewed journal Waste Management, of a seminal paper on the development and use of the ‘Wasteaware’ benchmark indicators for integrated sustainable waste management in cities. Solid waste management (SWM) is a key utility service, but data is often lacking. Measuring their SWM performance helps a city establish priorities for action. The Wasteaware benchmark indicators provide a self-assessment and diagnostic tool to measure both technical and governance aspects; have been tested in more than 50 cities on 6 continents; and enable consistent comparison between cities and countries and monitoring progress.

The integrated sustainable waste management (ISWM ) framework is used to analyse a city’s solid waste management system as two overlapping ‘triangles’ – one comprising the three physical components, i.e. collection, recycling, and disposal, and the other comprising three governance aspects, i.e. inclusivity; financial sustainability; and sound institutions and proactive policies. The Wasteaware indicator set combines relatively well-established quantitative indicators for waste generation, composition and the three main physical components or infrastructure, with a corresponding, qualitative, composite indicator for the ‘quality’ of service provision for each physical component; and in addition five qualitative, composite indicators that assess performance for the three main governance aspects.

The paper builds on pioneering work for UN-Habitat’s Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities . The indictors were further developed and used in a comparative analysis of 20 cities . This experience was fed into a revised indicator set developed as part of the GIZ project onOperator Models . This in turn led to a further round of testing and revision, which has culminated in the ‘Wasteaware’ benchmark indicators, which have now been used in some form in more than 50 cities around the world. This experience confirms the utility of the indicators in allowing comprehensive performance measurement and comparison of both ‘hard’ physical components and ‘soft’ governance aspects; and in prioritising ‘next steps’ in developing a city’s solid waste management system, by identifying both local strengths that can be built on and weak points to be addressed. The Wasteaware ISWM indicators are applicable to a broad range of cities with very different levels of income and solid waste management practices. Their wide application as a standard methodology will help to fill the historical data gap – a User Manual https://corazoninc.com/cialis-cheap-20mg/ has been published alongside the paper.

ISWA reports on Globalisation and Waste Management

The ISWA Task Force on Globalisation published its final report today, to coincide with the opening of the ISWA 2014 World Congress in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Two supporting reports have also been published, on Global Recycling Markets: Plastic Waste and A Review of International Development Co-operation in Solid Waste Management. Prof David C Wilson was the scientific co-ordinator for the Task Force and a co-author of the reports.

The Task Force’s interim report, in 2012, highlighted the links between globalised supply chains, consumerism, population growth, urbanisation, resource depletion and waste management. It underlined the crisis humanity faces in needing to stop open waste dumping and to bring collection services to half the world’s population that don’t have them. Dumping and incomplete collection damage our health and environment. It called for a collective global effort, such as in the fight against diseases (malaria, AIDS), in order to stop hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste polluting our water, soil and air. This requires co-operation between a wide range of stakeholders and above all funding.

The Task Force’s Final Report addresses a series of issues in a concise and accessible manner. The report addresses the challenges of managing wastes in rapidly growing megacities. It also searches for answers to the growing challenge of informal sector workers, particularly in developing nations, and how to protect them through a transition to more formal structures, a highly contentious issue among waste professionals. A previous update and seminal open access paper has also addressed this issue.

The other two issues have also been elaborated in the two major reports published alongside the Final Report. One addresses recycling of plastics and how the global supply chain is affected by recycling practices in developed nations that rely on export markets, particularly China, to ensure their sustainability. The other examines the role of international co-operation in the development of waste management in economically poorer nations and finds that the amount of international co-operation going to protect people’s health and their environment from uncontrolled waste is almost nothing, a miserable record for the International co-operation community and one which must be changed in the near term.

DCW guest edits special issue of WM&R on Cities and Waste

Professor David C Wilson has guest edited with Costas Velis of the University of Leeds a special issue of the peer reviewed journal Waste Management & Research on Cities and Waste. They co-authored the editorial on Cities and waste: Current and emerging issues, which is free to download. The 12 papers in the special issue cover a wide range of topics, including an assessment of the current municipal solid waste management system in Lahore, Pakistan co-authored by DCW.

In 1950, only 30% of the World’s population lived in urban areas; in 2014 that is now 54%; and by 2050 it is forecast to become 66% – the majority of that growth will be in Africa and Asia. There were 10 ‘megacities’ with a population over 10 million in 1990, of which five were in developing countries; there are 28 in 2014, with all but two of the new entrants in developing countries; the forecast for 2030 is 40. There is a strong correlation between municipal solid waste (MSW) generation per capita and the income level of a country, so as economies grow in low or middle income countries, we can expect per capita waste levels to increase. Hence, it is reasonable to predict that, for many cities in Africa and Asia, the total quantities of MSW in 2030 will be around double the current levels. Which is why we chose to focus this Special Issue of WM&R on Cities and Waste. 
A number of the papers address this basic challenge, of how to provide a basic level of service for MSW in rapidly growing developing country cities. Two important papers address how to move waste management to resource management, and who owns waste, a question that is becoming increasingly important, and contentious, as resource values increase. One common theme across many of the papers is the need for more, and better data: ‘If you don’t measure or estimate it, then you can’t hope to manage it’.Another is providing support to decision making for sustainable waste management in a city: several papers apply a set of performance indicators that DCW has been working on from a number of years.