In Study Sessions 7–10 you learned about the composition of solid waste and the options for treating or disposing of wastes. None of the techniques and technologies that we looked at can on their own treat every type of solid waste; they need to be used in combination. This study session introduces the idea of Integrated Solid Waste Management, where a combination of methods are used to manage solid waste in a way that is best for people, communities and the environment.
When you have studied this session, you should be able to:
11.1 Define and use correctly all of the key words printed in bold. (SAQ 11.1)
11.2 Explain what is meant by integrated solid waste management. (SAQ 11.2)
11.3 Outline the reasons for shifting from a traditional to an integrated solid waste management strategy. (SAQ 11.3)
11.4 Identify ways of encouraging and supporting an integrated waste management approach. (SAQ 11.4)
Think back to previous study sessions and remind yourself what you understand by the following terms:
Waste reduction means avoiding producing waste in the first place. In manufacturing industry, it is about using less raw materials to make a given product. In the home, waste reduction could include avoiding buying over-packaged products.
Reuse happens when something is used more than once for its original purpose – perhaps refilling a drinks bottle with water.
Recycling is the reprocessing of materials recovered from waste so that they can be used as raw materials in manufacturing processes, for example melting of glass bottles and forming them into new bottles. You may also have mentioned composting which is classed as a form of recycling.
By now you are familiar with the waste hierarchy, which is shown again in Figure 11.1. In the past few study sessions, we have discussed all the options in the hierarchy from the most desirable (reduction) to the least desirable (disposal).
Unfortunately, many towns and cities are not able to follow the waste hierarchy and the only option used is disposal. Much of the waste is never collected (it is dumped or burned) and even where it is collected, most of the waste is taken to a landfill that has no means of controlling pollution from the site. Case Study 11.1 about the town of Jimma illustrates this situation.
In 2011, Jimma had a population of around 160,000; this had grown to 200,000 by 2014. Solid waste generation in 2011 was 88 metric tons per day with 87% of this being waste from households.
A total of 25% of households deposited their waste in communal containers that were then taken to landfill; 51% used disposal pits, their own back yards or open dumping of waste in public spaces; 22% burned their waste in public open spaces; and the remaining 2% of households had waste collected by private sector organisations. There is no formal system for collecting wastes for reuse or recycling.
Waste management is the responsibility of the municipality’s Social and Economic Department who employ 33 waste workers. The department has one tipper lorry for waste collection purposes and ten metal bins for commercial waste storage, each with capacity of 4 m3 that are placed randomly in residential and commercial areas. The budget for waste is less than 1% of the total municipal budget. Staff wages take up 90% and the remainder is spent on fuel, maintenance and other running costs.
The situation in Jimma is typical of many towns in Ethiopia. This session looks at how towns like Jimma can adopt the principles of Integrated Solid Waste Management to move their waste management systems further up the hierarchy and reduce the risks of damaging people’s health and the environment.
Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) can be defined in many ways but it is probably best to think of it as a way of using a combination of waste management techniques to treat the different types of waste in ways that are environmentally, financially and socially sustainable. ISWM should be based on the waste hierarchy and focus on using the 3 Rs while finding a suitable way of dealing with the remaining waste. It also depends on collaboration among all the organisations and individuals involved in waste management.
Van de Klundert and Anschütz (2001) explain that the ISWM concept is built upon four basic principles:
Which of the following waste management systems meet the four conditions of ISWM?
Options (b) and (c) do broadly meet these conditions (although we should find out more about the standard of the landfills).
Option (a) does not meet the criteria of equity or effectiveness.
Option (d) is good for the environment and people’s health but is not financially sustainable.
Introducing ISWM means adopting all of the beneficial practices that have been described in previous study sessions and ensuring that they all work together effectively. It has a number of advantages for the different sectors of society. Here are some examples:
An ISWM system is more than just the 3 Rs. It has three components: the waste system elements; the stakeholders; and the influencing factors. These three components are shown in Figure 11.3. The waste system elements are the stages in the waste management chain that have been discussed in previous study sessions. In ISWM, every stage in the chain should be guided by strategies to minimise the waste that reaches the disposal site, to protect the environment and where possible to generate income from waste. The stakeholders are the people and organisations involved and the influencing factors are other aspects that need to be considered when developing an ISWM system. Stakeholders and the influencing factors are described below.
The term stakeholder refers to any individual or organisation that has a stake or an interest in a programme or activity or is affected by the activity. When it comes to the management of a kebele’s waste, who are the stakeholders? Everybody who lives or works in the kebele is a stakeholder. So are people who visit the kebele for any reason (perhaps relations of residents). The organisations in the kebele are also stakeholders (businesses, commerce, government etc.). If a private sector organisation is involved in providing the service, it too is a stakeholder. The organisations that provide any funding for the ISWM (local and national government, NGOs, aid agencies) are also stakeholders. This is such a wide group because every person, institution, organisation and industry in the kebele generates waste and is affected by the way it is collected, treated and disposed of.
Waste management requires a concerted effort throughout the process of its management and the degree of involvement of stakeholders varies from place to place. So it is necessary to identify stakeholders and their areas of interest and degrees of involvement in waste management (e.g. funding, training, waste collection, recycling etc.).
List the stakeholders in waste management in your home village, town or city.
Your list will depend on where you live but could include:
One of the main challenges of ISWM is coordinating the stakeholders and getting them to work together for a common goal. So those working in waste management need to be able to work with the various stakeholders and help them to agree the way forward. Participation by the community members in planning and decision making is especially important because their cooperation and a positive attitude to recycling and reuse will be essential.
Several factors will influence the selection, operation and effectiveness of any waste management scheme and need to be considered when planning a successful ISWM programme. They include:
Integrated solid waste management can be planned for big cities such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Mekelle and Adama or medium-sized cities such as Jimma, Nekemte, Dessie and Assela, or small towns like Wolkite, Wukro, Debre Birhan, Bedele and Maksegnit. Although the principles used are the same, some of the waste system elements are more applicable in particular sized communities as shown in Table 11.1.
|Waste management component||Big cities (population above 200,000)||Medium cities (population 100,000–200,000)||Small cities (population less than 100,000)|
|Reduction at source||Highly applicable||Highly applicable||Highly applicable|
|Sorting at household level|
Applicable but not yet introduced as part of the formal waste system but could be done if sufficient start-up funding was available
Some segregation takes place through the korales
Applicable but not yet introduced as part of the formal waste system but could be done if sufficient start-up funding was available and if the cities are close enough to manufacturers willing to take the materials recovered
Some segregation takes place through the korales.
Applicable but not yet introduced, sorting would probably be limited to separating compostable wastes
Some segregation takes place through the korales
|Reuse of items||Highly applicable||Highly applicable||Highly applicable|
Applicable if linked to big cities
Can be promoted through small-scale recycling (paper for example)
|Applicable and can be promoted through small-scale recycling (paper for example)|
Applicable and can be scaled up at material-processing and energy-recovery facilities
Can be scaled up by using the private sector/small-scale enterprises with subsidy
|Applicable and can be scaled up by using the private sector/ small-scale enterprises with subsidy||Applicable and can be scaled up by creating awareness and by organising small-scale enterprises|
In the previous sections, we have explained the many benefits that ISWM brings to a community. ISWM helps to safeguard public health, improve the environment and gives a better image to the city. Hence improving waste services is a priority for many stakeholders – the government, NGOs, health and environment ministries and city councils.
However, developing and implementing ISWM needs start-up capital and an on-going revenue scheme. It needs investment in equipment and in the training and development of skilled staff. ISWM also requires effort from all the stakeholders. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to encourage people to develop and implement ISWM by providing incentives. These incentives may be financial benefits or the offer of some other sort of reward for adopting an ISWM approach.
It is at the local level where encouragement and incentives need to be provided. This is a task for national or local government and can take a number of forms. For example:
Even when incentives are provided, attempts to improve the waste management system are not always successful as shown in the following case study. Read the case study and then answer the questions below.
Jimma city administration organised a group of young people to become involved in waste composting through its job creation policy framework. The youth club members were identified by kebeles and sent to the Environment and Social Affairs Department of the municipality for training. The municipality ‘oriented’ them and provided them with land and basic tools to run the composting programme. These young people were very well motivated and started their job, hoping that they would earn sufficient money to sustain their livelihoods.
The task they were set was not simple. They had to collect compostable waste, separate and remove the waste components they did not need and send them back to the communal collection skips. Unfortunately, their training did not give them the information they needed to be sure about the mix of wastes for effective composting process (for example, whether it needed more leaves, more paper and or more food waste). They also did not know how to monitor the temperature and moisture content of the composting waste. Consequently, the compost took a long time to mature and even after six months they did not have good quality compost.
This youth group were very disappointed with their first batch of compost. They had hoped to sell the compost to local farmers but most of them had no interest in buying it because they had access to synthetic fertilisers distributed by the government. The farmers who did express an interest offered a small amount of money but this was not enough to cover the producers’ labour costs. The youths became frustrated and gave up the scheme.
What are the lessons that can be learned from this case study?
Several things could have been done much better:
From your study earlier in the Module, what specific information should the young people have been given about the required mix of brown and green waste for composting?
They should have been told to mix three parts of brown waste (paper, woody material, dried vegetation) to one part of green waste (food waste, animal manure, fresh vegetation).
Developing and implementing an ISWM system is a significant task that requires commitment and the cooperation of many stakeholders as well as financial investment. Its success will depend on continuing support from the community. As someone involved in promoting improved sanitation, you may find yourself working with a team charged with introducing an ISWM system. The sort of tasks that you could be doing include:
In Ethiopian towns, there is increasing focus on solid waste management. Adopting an ISWM approach that brings together the most effective technologies and has the support of all stakeholders will ensure that sustainable improvements are made which will benefit the communities and the environment.
In Study Session 11, you have learned that:
Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions.
Rewrite the paragraph below using terms from the list provided to fill the gaps.
effective (more than once!), efficient, equity, sustainable.
The waste management system should ensure everyone in the community can benefit from the service provided. This is the principle of ……………… An ……………… system will function well and meet the needs of all the people. It will also be ………………, which means it will make the best use of available resources and ………………, meaning it will continue to be ……………… into the future.
The waste management system should ensure everyone in the community can benefit from the service provided. This is the principle of equity. An effective system will function well and meet the needs of all the people. It will also be efficient, which means it will make the best use of available resources and sustainable, meaning it will continue to be effective into the future.
Explain why Integrated Solid Waste Management is described as ‘integrated’.
ISWM is described as integrated because it is a combination of different approaches. Rather than just recycling, for example, or any other single approach, ISWM depends on using many of the methods of waste management together. It is also integrated in the sense that it requires all stakeholders to work together in a collaborative way to achieve the goals of improved solid waste management.
Which of the following statements are false? In each case explain why it is incorrect.
B is false. ISWM has many advantages but it is a complex long-term approach that needs financial and other resources.
D is false. ISWM will reduce the quantity of waste that goes to the landfill site because some will have been removed for reuse or recycling. Less waste means that the landfill site will take longer to fill up so its lifespan will be extended, not reduced.
Give three examples of ways of encouraging or supporting an ISWM approach.
You may have mentioned any three of the following possible ways of encouraging and supporting ISWM: