10.2.4  Controlled landfill

For urban waste disposal, a controlled landfill is a significant improvement on the communal open dump. The area is fenced to control access and the waste is covered with soil at the end of each day. This prevents the waste being blown around, stops flies breeding on the waste, makes it less accessible to scavenging animals and prevents the waste catching fire. A controlled landfill site is staffed, and some machinery (such as a tractor) is available to spread, compact and cover the waste with soil.

The national Urban Solid Waste Handling and Disposal Strategy (MUDHC, 2015) includes standards for waste disposal areas of different categories of town and city. The standard for smaller cities and towns requires that the site should:

  • accommodate up to 50 metric tons of waste daily
  • have an inlet road, which is kept repaired
  • make sure that dumped waste is covered with soil
  • have procedures for controlling the waste coming to the site
  • have light machinery, such as tractors, regularly on site
  • have an additional 15% land area for operating space and site services
  • forbid the disposal of rubber products, industrial wastes, medical and hazardous wastes, and keep construction waste separate from general waste.

Note that the standard specifically mentions the problem of rubber products, which generally refers to vehicle tyres. Tyres should not be added to landfill for several reasons: they cannot be compacted; they may collect water which creates a breeding site for mosquitoes; and, if they catch fire, they can burn for many weeks or even months.

Following these standards is good practice in small and medium-sized towns, but continuous staffing is needed to control how and where the waste is deposited and to prevent the site from becoming an open dump. Furthermore, there is no control of leachate being formed or contaminating ground and surface waters.

10.2.3  Burial in a pit

10.2.5  Sanitary landfill