It is estimated that around 2 billion tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
were generated in 2006. MSW requires major financial and logistical resources
to collect, recycle and capture greenhouse gases to generate green energy and
electricity. This is expected to increase by around 40% over the next 4 to 5 years.
Environmentally acceptable waste management practices are essential if damaging
consequences resulting from toxic and hazardous waste, greenhouse
gas emissions, water and air pollution are to be avoided.
Prime drivers of improved waste management are legislation, government waste
management policy and enforcement and market structure. There is an international
market for trade in material for reuse or recycling.
Traditionally, municipalities have been responsible for waste collection and disposal
but the use of private contractors in partnership or at arms length is increasing.
The global waste management sector faces some significant challenges inter alia the
compilation of accurate statistics to measure waste trends, increasing the level of recycling,
landfill diversion, CO2 emission avoidance, the need for improved legislation and landfill taxes.
Waste disposal in open dumps and landfills is a major source of methane a powerful
greenhouse gas. Proper management of this can contribute to climate change mitigation.
Waste management is one of the critical areas nations will have to address in climate change.
Cleantech appears to be the enabling technology of modern industrial society
with the opportunity being in the next and necessary wave of innovation.
Asian cities are home to more than one billion people - this is expected to double
over the next 20 years producing circa 180 million tons of MSW. Asia's diverse nature
in terms of economic development, institutional framework climate and culture means
waste management characteristics issues and economics vary across the region.
These cities can be categorized into less developed or poor, developing or rapidly
industrializing and developed or mature cities. All trends are towards more sustainable
recycling of resources.
High population and urbanization growth accelerate consumption rates and therefore
generation of waste. The amount of waste is rising to levels which are difficult
and costly to manage and many cities lack the management capacity to deal with this
increase in waste and the changing environmental challenges. Waste management capacity is being
overwhelmed by overpopulation and increased affluence.
Common problems in these areas are scavenging, institutional deficiencies,
inadequate legislation and resource constraints. Long and short term plans are
lacking due to capital and human resource limitations.
There is a need for financing instruments, specialist training, capacity building
and enforcement of environmental legislation.