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Drivers and barriers to waste management in developing countries

June 11, 2014 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm UTC Timezone
be Waste Wise


Prof. Costas Velis, Lecturer in Resource Efficiency Systems, University of Leeds

Magda Correal, Consultant in Public Services, MAG Consultoria

Thomas Vogler, Head of Project Management at Hitachi Zosen India Pvt. Ltd.

Edith Iriruaga, Administrative Secretary at Wastes Management Society of Nigeria

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Sharing solutions through dialogue

Sharing solutions through dialogue

The transition to sustainable waste management is a major issue for all urban centers, and in particular for those in the developing world. Officials of developing countries usually acknowledge this need. However, little is done to improve the situation, and changes take long periods of time. Agenda-driven officers, lack of budget, personal interests, lack of long term plans, concrete results sought to be shown during the government’s time in power, and the strong presence of the informal waste sector often are commonalities found in these regions.

Often enough the main challenge is not the lack of money or capabilities, but inadequate management. Waste management is not normally given high priority among governmental duties. Additionally, decision makers don’t always have the necessary skills or resources to evaluate the technologies proposed by sales people who claim that their installations would resolve all of the locality’s waste management challenges.

Another difficulty encountered in these communities is the collaboration of the residents with the waste management system. The population is not normally charged by the pound of waste being disposed of, but rather on a fixed tax. Therefore, their participation in recycling, composting, waste reduction programs can be difficult at times.


  1. What kind of approaches can officers consider when tackling the waste management issues in their locality?
  2. Which matters should take priority?
  3. Would a change in fee policies for waste disposal help improve its management?
  4. How can the population be engaged in the improvement of the SWM systems?