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Relevance of landfills in developing countries

Relevance of landfills in developing countries

Organized at 4 PM GMT on 4th June, 2014


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Sandra Cointreau, Waste Management Consultant

Asit Nema, Waste Management Consultant

Derek Greedy, Retired Waste Management and Planning Professional


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Maria Tsakona is the Curator of this theme. She was involved from the ideation phase of this theme and made periodic contributions to make it possible. She also helped structure the panels and suggested appropriate panelists for each topic.
Natali Ganfer is the research consultant for this theme. She structured the panels and helped conduct a survey to choose the panels

For contributions in various ways, we thank N. C. Vasuki, Nicolas Escalante, Mario Russo, Ann J. Reier, Jonathan Rivin, Nelson Gouveia, Andrea Atzori, and Victor Nascimento. Full acknowledgement.


Sharing solutions through dialogue

Sharing solutions through dialogue

Even though some developed countries are moving towards eliminating landfills completely, there are places around the world where well operated sanitary landfills can provide the safest and most affordable way to dispose of solid waste. Modern engineered landfills are essential foundations for a community’s solid waste management system. They are a proven and reliable technology that can accept a wide range of incoming waste loads. Additionally, when correctly operated, they generate valuable landfill gas, a low BTU fuel. Almost 2,000 MW of electricity in the US is generated through landfill gas.

Those who oppose to the installation of landfills can sometimes inadvertently encourage the implementation of open dumping or open burning of waste. Open dumping is the most prevalent method of waste disposal in low and middle income countries. Open dumps catch fires frequently, and result in public health damage and environmental degradation. Localities that have either limited budgets, enough space available, or regulations against other types of final disposal of waste, may be good candidates for the implementation of sanitary landfills. This topic will discuss the need for increased focus and financing for sanitary landfills as the starting points for the evolution of safe and sustainable waste management systems.


  1. Are there any short-term or long-term alternatives to landfills in developing countries?
  2. Why do we have open dumps instead of only modern engineered landfills?
  3. What are the pros and cons of landfills?
  4. Is there enough space left for the installation of landfills?
  5. Do landfills have the same relevance in developed and developing regions?
  6. What happens when a community opposes to the installation of a landfill (or any waste management facility) near them – NIMBY effect? How should the situation be managed?
  7. What aspects should a prospective funder consider when investing in a landfill?


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