Waste mismanagement in developing countries is becoming a leading concern. According to a report by the World Bank, global waste will increase by 70 percent from 2016 by 2050. In addition, this is meant to be especially dramatic for low-income countries as they recycle 4% of their waste.
In fact, the data shows global annual waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, up from 2.01 billion tonnes in 2016. Besides that, only 16% of the world’s population is responsible for 34% of the world’s waste. Indeed, high-income countries altogether are generating more than one-third of global waste. The East Asia and Pacific region on the other hand is responsible to a quarter of all waste (23%). While by 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will be tripling and doubling their current waste generation levels.
How our waste is affecting developing countries
Despite global waste is increasing, still, one-quarter of the world’s population doesn’t have access to a proper waste collection system. On top of that, rapid urbanization and population growth make waste collection more complicated and sites for treatment harder to locate. This gets worse in rural areas.
Furthermore, for many local administrations, waste management can be the single biggest expenditure. In fact, effective waste management often comprehends 20%–50% of municipal budgets.
To continue, there is the fact that many developed countries export their post-consumer plastic waste passing on the problem to typically poorer countries to deal with.
As a result, waste in developing countries is piling up faster as countries are least able to deal with it. The consequence of that is severe social and environmental impact.
In fact, 90% of waste in low-income countries is still systematically dumped or burned. Also, between 400,000 and 1 million people die each year in low-income countries due to diseases caused by mismanaged waste, according to poverty charity Tearfund.
| Factors triggering waste levels in developing countries:
✔ Rapid urbanization and population growth.
✔ Differences between urban and rural areas.
✔ Lack of proper waste collections systems.
✔ High cost of waste management systems.
✔ Post-consumer plastic waste exports from high-income countries.
✔ Plastic pollution.
Solutions to waste mismanagement in developing countries
What a Waste 2.0 report stresses the importance of solid waste management for sustainability and economic growth in the country. Waste management systems are the backbone of a circular economy:
“It makes economic sense to properly manage waste,” said Silpa Kaza, World Bank Urban Development Specialist and lead author of the report. “Uncollected waste and poorly disposed waste have significant health and environmental impacts. The cost of addressing these impacts is many times higher than the cost of developing and operating simple, adequate waste management systems.”
Among the solutions to fight waste mismanagement in developing countries, the World Bank suggests:
- Providing financing in order to develop cutting-edge technology on waste management systems. Especially the fastest growing countries most in need.
- Develop waste reduction and recycling programs to foster major waste-producing countries to reduce consumption of plastics and marine litter.
- Implement programs to reduce food waste.
REVALUO, the low-carbon waste management system
REVALUO is our low-carbon waste-to-energy system. Together we can help developing countries to manage their solid waste properly and find solutions to:
- Reduce solid waste in landfills up to 85-90%.
- Transform waste into value-added products: electric power, fuels, soil improvers, and more.
- Meet your emission targets.
- Create new jobs and boost local economies.
- Quick return on the investment and 100% clean.
| Consequences of waste mismanagement in developing countries:
✔ Open dumping.
✔ Open burning.
✔ Marine litter.
✔ Severe environmental risk.