The rapid urbanization and economic development taking place in the Asia-Pacific region is leading to increased solid waste generation. Waste generated in the region in 2012 exceeded 1.3 million tonnes/ day and the World Bank forecasts this figure to surge to 3 million tonnes/ day in 2025.
Solid waste management is often the single largest budgetary expenditure for local governments in developing countries, which spend an average of 20 to 50 percent of their budget to collect and dispose of waste.
Open dumping is the most common method for final disposal but this option is not sustainable as it creates severe health and environmental problems, while many existing landfills are already reaching capacity.
In fact, only 10-15% of all waste in developing countries requires disposal in landfills given that it is mainly composed of organic matter (50-65%) and recyclable materials such as paper, glass, metals and plastics (25-35%).
Traditional approaches, however, focus on end-of-pipe solutions that overlook the opportunities to recover resources from waste and that are capital and technology intensive, and therefore expensive to build and difficult to maintain.
In order to address these challenges ESCAP, in partnership with Waste Concern, is helping cities in the Asia-Pacific region to effectively manage their waste in a pro-poor, environmentally sustainable and economically viable manner through the promotion of decentralized Integrated Resource Recovery Centers (IRRCs).
The IRRC model uses simple technology, is low cost and recovers value from waste by converting organic waste into fertilizer and biogas and valorizing recyclable waste, while providing livelihood opportunities to the urban poor.
The project is also providing technical assistance to governments across the region in developing national programmes and mechanisms for the replication and up-scale of pro-poor and sustainable solid waste management practices. In particular, ESCAP is assisting a number of countries in developing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) for the waste sector.
Related Documents and Events
- National Workshop: Prospects for the Application of Anaerobic Digestion to Treat Municipal Solid Waste in Indonesia, November 2014
- Regional Workshop on Pro-Poor and Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Secondary Cities and Small Towns in the Asia-Pacific, September 2014
- Regional Workshop on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in Asia and the Pacific, March 2014
- Decentralized and Integrated Resource Recovery Centers in Developing Countries: Lessons Learnt from Asia-Pacific
- Valuing the sustainable development co-benefits of climate change mitigation actions: The case of the waste sector and recommendations for the design of nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs)