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Scope of D Waste in Developing Countries

Managing Director at Kanak Resources Management Ltd.

Solid waste management in developing countries is in growing stage. They are still struggling with viable model and resource crunch is a major issue. Unfortunately, they intend to copy models practises by most advanced countries but neither personnel nor finances are available. Western models are more towards mechanisation due to lack of manpower, which is available abundantly in these countries. Solid waste management has proved to be a source of creating livelihood opportunities to people at bottom of pyramid.

  • Comment (16)
  • July 9, 2012
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  • Maria T.


    Maria T.

    Environmental Consultant Engineer

    This is true Vivek and usually many authorities in developing countries choose to upgrade their legislative framework by copying western legislation and trying to adopt the same technological features as those applied in developed countries, causing multiple problems. The first problem that can arise from the adoption of a “mature” legislative framework, such as the European which took more than 40 years to evolve, is that there is left no room for phased development of these countries and usually they are discouraged from undertaking any steps at all. Moreover, in the case that public authorities decide to implement one of the advanced technological features available they would have to find way to finance the projects. There are numerous examples in several developing countries of donor-funded incinerators that have never operated, but have sat for years as a kind of dinosaur in the landscape.

  • Edith

    Edith I.

    Administrative Secretary at Wastes Management Society of Nigeria

    You are right but I think they are learning. You know there is a case of some incinerators (for municipal waste) that were installed in Lagos State of Nigeria some decades ago that were never used because it did not suit our waste composition. It is good to let you know that the incinerator locations have been converted to transfer stations to temporarily contain the huge volume of waste generated in the city at peak hours. This is just one case among many experiences. What we really need do is to look inward at what is working and develop ways to build on it while also finding reasons why what is not working is so and develop locally specific solutions to it.

  • Sanjay K.


    Sanjay K.

    Expert, Solid Waste Utilization & Recycling, Creating Wealth from Waste

    I slightly tend to differ, there are funding oppurtunities available but lack of technologies which suits to local condition. The problem with adopting western technologies are they have been tailored for western condition which have very stringent regulations and thus techno-economically less attractive, in developing countries resources are cheap, regulations are more flexible and it influences the techno-economics. Thus there is need to develop process/ technologies suited to local condition or customize the existing process for local condition.

    I would like to cite examples from India, where few major steel plants adopted zero waste concept and are able to achieve at least 80% of targetted objective.

  • Derek G.


    Derek G.

    Retired Waste Management and Planning Professional

    I like what I read from all of you but having had the opportunity to visit a number of economically developing coumtries and in particular Sierra Leone my message is two fold.

    Firstly you need to fully understand the waste stream that you are seeking to manage and that is why I think there were problems with the incinerators in Lagos. No-one had taken on board the wetness of the waste and that much of it was food and market waste.

    Secondly my message is keep it simple. Composting and some landfill was found to be the appropriate solution for Bo City in Sierra Leone for example. No need to worry about recycling here as anything that could be recycled or re-used in the potential waste stream was removed well before it became waste.

  • Antonis M.


    Antonis M.

    Founder and CEO at D-Waste

    I like the comments above so let me put one more
    Sometimes we tend to forget that waste management is something gradually built on what is already in place - this means that there are a lot of efforts that try to reshape waste management in developing countries and modernize it ignoring that almost always there are local resources and capacities that must not be lost. And as it is confirmed by the recent UN Habitat book, in each and every city the first thing to be done is to understand the strong and the wek points of the system. And then try to build on the strong points rather than try to import technologies.
    Because technologies might be donor funded or imported but they have to be operational with local waste and resources.
    I really thing that the missing component in many cases is the systemic approach of waste management.

  • Vivek A.


    Vivek A.

    Managing Director at Kanak Resources Management Ltd.

    It is obvious from all comments that developing countries still need a scientific approach to adopt an appropriate technology in solid waste management. Simple copying will not do. D Waste may take initiate to develop module to design waste management interventions in these countries.

  • Nuggehalli

    Nuggehalli V.

    Principal at RGM

    N.C.Vasuki. Developing countries should give priority for efficient collection of residential and commercial solid waste and an engineered landfill. That offers the best value for the money available. Once people get used to efficient collection it would be easier to train them to separate recyclables from the waste stream. A well designed, constructed and operated landfill provides a solid foundation for the community. Subsequently other conversion ntechnologies could be utilized for improving the system.
    The problem in most developing countries is the fact that waste handling sites are dirty. We need to show people that waste management sites can clean and attractive to build public confidence.
    Also the municipalities should be required to pay "tipping" fees to cover the system costs. Tipping fees are esssential for economic sustainability

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