With every year passing by, the world takes huge
steps towards urbanization. This increasing urban lifestyle produces waste as a
by-product. The current estimate of the world cities waste generation is about
1.3 billion tonnes per year and this value is said to increase to 2.2 billion
tonnes by 2025. Consequently the waste management costs would get doubled too.
This would cause a huge blow to the economy of the low income countries. A
strong link exists between urbanisation, solid waste produced and pollution.
Hence a poor waste management could not only affect the health but also the
local and global environment and finally the economy. Finding ways to dispose
and manage this solid waste is a growing concern for the nations,
municipalities, corporations and individuals around the world and the global
community at large. This paper is a review of the solid waste management techniques
that were practiced in the past followed by the current solid waste management
techniques being practiced in low income, developing and developed countries;
the problems associated with them and the framework of the integrated solid
waste management approach.

History of solid waste:

It said that as
late as 10,000 B.C the first human societies were formed, this automatically
lead to the production of solid waste. Health concerns, scarcity of resources
and aesthetics were the main driving forces for the initiation of a proper
waste management system. The communities initially started burying the waste in
and around their settlements but as the population grew this method wasn’t
enough to prevent the spread of odour and diseases. This caused the communities
to come up with better and effective methods for disposing the waste. By 2000
B.C, the Indus Valley Civilization was the first to have a well-functioning
drainage system i.e the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro. The Greeks came next in
finding solutions as they banned waste on the streets in 500 B.C and then
followed the Chinese; they had various waste officers appointed as early as 200
B.C. However there was no segregation of the waste and it was all being dumped all
together and this was one of the main reason for the spread of various
diseases. The Black Death in Europe, which occurred in the early1300s, is said
to have been caused due to the dumping of waste on the streets. After this huge
outbreak many initiatives were put into place for the proper disposal of the
waste but these turned out to be ineffective because the poor were focused on
feeding themselves and the rich didn’t want to pay to clean up. However due to
insufficient resources people were forced to recycle and reuse items. When SWM
progress finally began, it was driven by five principal factors: public health,
the environment, resource scarcity and the value of waste, climate change, and
public awareness and participation.

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SWM in
developing countries:

 

The rapid increasing population
and its associated waste generation increase are causing a lot of problems in
most of the developing countries as they can’t cope with this sudden increase.

In these countries, when the
basic need of surviving is a great concern; it is hard for waste management to
make its way as a top priority. Although, this has changed now. Providing a
proper solid waste management is one of the most import services the government
has to provide to its citizens. It single handedly takes up a huge portion in
the budget list. Lack of technical skills among the government and municipal
authorities is one of the technical factors that affect the system. And they
fail to provide a better solid waste management because they also lack
financial means. One of the driving forces for developing a better approach was
the clean development program under the Kyoto protocol. ‘Carbon credits’
provided these developing countries the necessary economy required.

The current solid waste
management techniques used in most of the developing countries are landfills
and incineration. Open dumping of waste is still practiced is some of these
developing countries. The problem that arises with incineration is that it is
not cost effective and it requires high amounts of energy. The burning of
various components of the waste can also cause air pollution. The ash produced
from incineration has to be disposed well. When it comes to landfills, it not
only requires land availability but also causes health hazards to the people
living around the land. Open dumping creates a breeding spot for a wide variety
of disease causing insects. It does produce a huge quantity of methane gas
which is a deadly greenhouse gas.

In order to
overcome these problems large number of studies were conducted from 2005 to
2011 to review the solid waste management techniques and the problems
associated with them in these countries. From these reviews, the Integrated
Sustainable Waste Management Model was introduced

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