The growth of urban populations and economies in Asia has resulted in a corresponding growth of solid wastes that municipal governments are finding difficult to dispose. Existing dumpsites are filling up and finding land for new dumpsites is becoming increasingly difficult. The traditional approach to solid waste management focuses on end-of-line solutions that are capital and technology intensive, and are therefore costly to build and operate. Hence many local governments devote a substantial portion of their annual budgets to collecting, transporting and disposing solid wastes. In spite of the amounts spent, collection is often insufficient and waste is often disposed in crude open dumps that pollute the atmosphere and water sources.
The solution lies in improving waste collection services and treatment and in reducing the amount of waste that reaches dumpsites. This can be achieved by treating wastes as a resource. Beyond recycling, the focus of any sustainable approach has to be on organic waste as it makes up 70 to 80 percent of all total wastes in many developing Asian countries.
Through a regional assessment ESCAP identified the decentralized neighbourhood- based compost plants developed by Waste Concern, an NGO in Bangladesh, as an approach that met the above criteria. Adapting this approach, ESCAP and Waste Concern undertook two successful pilot projects in Sri Lanka and Viet Nam.
Building on these prior experiences, the project on "Pro-poor and Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Secondary Cities and Small Towns" is replicating the approach across Asia-Pacific, enabling participating local governments, civil society organizations and organizations of the poor to develop and implement town-wide solid waste management strategies that are financially viable, pro-poor, and low-carbon. The project is being implemented by ESCAP in partnership with Waste Concern.
The project started in September 2009 and will continue until 31 December 2015.
For more information please visit the project's website at: