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Resolving Governance Issues to Achieve Priority Sustainable Development Goals Related to Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries

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As a key utility service that more than 2 billion people are currently lacking, solid waste management (SWM) is a crosscutting issue that can be directly linked to 12 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Distinguishing between physical components and governance aspects of SWM, this research focuses on governance issues concerning basic solid waste collection services and controlled disposal, thus addressing the 'How' and the 'Who' dimensions of a SWM system. As a form of transdisciplinary research, the findings from the literature on governance issues in SWM were iteratively subjected to several rounds of commentary by a large group of stakeholders from six continents, within the authors' work for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s 2015 Global Waste Management Outlook. The study identifies a combination of complementary instruments required for extending collection to all and bringing disposal under control. While municipalities have a legal responsibility for providing services to their citizens, various service providers can contribute to an effective SWM system. Appropriate forms of funding are essential to secure financial sustainability of the services under the local conditions of affordability and willingness to pay. As new services require behavioural change on the part of citizens and municipal waste departments alike, communication and exchange with other stakeholders function as enabling and supporting factors. The significance of capacity development is highlighted.
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sustainability
Article
Resolving Governance Issues to Achieve Priority
Sustainable Development Goals Related to Solid
Waste Management in Developing Countries
Ljiljana Rodi´c 1, * and David C. Wilson 2
1Independent Consultant, Human Measure, Plantsoen 9-B, 2311KE Leiden, The Netherlands
2Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK;
waste@davidcwilson.com
*Correspondence: Ljiljana.Rodic@gmail.com; Tel.: +31-71-514-4228
Academic Editor: Christian Zurbrügg
Received: 15 December 2016; Accepted: 1 March 2017; Published: 9 March 2017
Abstract:
As a key utility service that more than 2 billion people are currently lacking, solid waste
management (SWM) is a crosscutting issue that can be directly linked to 12 out of the 17 UN
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Distinguishing between physical components and
governance aspects of SWM, this research focuses on governance issues concerning basic solid waste
collection services and controlled disposal, thus addressing the ‘How’ and the ‘Who’ dimensions of
a SWM system. As a form of transdisciplinary research, the findings from the literature on governance
issues in SWM were iteratively subjected to several rounds of commentary by a large group of
stakeholders from six continents, within the authors’ work for the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP)’s 2015 Global Waste Management Outlook. The study identifies a combination
of complementary instruments required for extending collection to all and bringing disposal under
control. While municipalities have a legal responsibility for providing services to their citizens,
various service providers can contribute to an effective SWM system. Appropriate forms of funding
are essential to secure financial sustainability of the services under the local conditions of affordability
and willingness to pay. As new services require behavioural change on the part of citizens and
municipal waste departments alike, communication and exchange with other stakeholders function
as enabling and supporting factors. The significance of capacity development is highlighted.
Keywords:
solid waste management; governance; developing countries; Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs); waste collection; waste disposal
1. Introduction—Direct Links between Solid Waste Management and SDGs
If it functions properly, solid waste management (SWM) is a key utility service that generally goes
by unnoticed. However, if it does not function well, SWM keeps drawing public, political, and media
attention in the country, e.g., [
1
3
]. If SWM completely stops functioning, the situation amounts to
a crisis and reaches the headlines internationally. The relatively recent case in point is that of Campania,
Italy, which filled the media around the world with distressing pictures of streets clogged with piles of
uncollected waste, drainage channels along country roads that had become ad hoc dumping grounds,
and lorries standing still in long queues, unable to unload waste anywhere [4,5].
As such, SWM is a crosscutting issue that affects and impacts various areas of sustainable
development in each of the three sustainability domains: ecology, economy, and society. The affected
areas include living conditions, sanitation, public health, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, access
to decent jobs, as well as the sustainable use of natural resources. Accordingly, out of 17 Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the 193 UN
Sustainability 2017,9, 404; doi:10.3390/su9030404 www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 2 of 18
Member States in September 2015 [
6
], at least 12 SDGs and their pertinent targets have a direct link to
SWM. Not being a high-level SDG in its own right could potentially threaten to reduce the ‘visibility’
of SWM as a political priority; however, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s recent
Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO) [
7
] developed the contrary argument, that the crosscutting
nature of SWM and its impact on not just one but on 12 SDGs should only emphasise the importance
and increase the political priority of SWM. Table 1presents these 12 SDGs with their pertinent targets
and their links to SWM.
In essence, the SDGs have the same driving forces as those that have been driving development
of SWM activities over time, namely: public health, environmental concerns, and resource value,
with relatively recent additions of climate change and inclusivity [
8
]. Protection of public health was
the main driving force behind the early attempts to introduce some form of solid waste collection
in cities around the world hundreds of years ago [
9
]. While in the past most cities and towns have
been able to organise some level of services to their citizens, in recent decades many of them have
been struggling to keep up with the amounts of waste generated, particularly in developing countries,
e.g., [
1
3
]. Such an increase in waste amounts is a result of an ever-increasing urban population, largely
due to unprecedented rates of rural-urban migration, and of economic development accompanied
by changes in consumption patterns and changes in waste material composition. As a consequence,
more than 2 billion people still do not have access to basic waste collection services [7].
In developing countries, while people leave their villages for prospects of employment and
generally ‘a better life’ for themselves and their families in the cities, they usually start their urban
life in slums or similar informal settlements, under very challenging living conditions, lacking basic
infrastructure and services. Their specific needs are addressed by Target 11.1: “By 2030, ensure access
for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums”. Solid waste
collection is one of these basic services, which, together with sanitation, would make a considerable
difference to the lives of billions of people worldwide, probably those who need development the most.
The uncollected waste is usually just dumped in watercourses or vacant land or burned in the
open air near the residences. Such practices pose health risks to the residents, with children being
especially affected. Dumped waste also clogs drains, which exacerbates floods and the damage that
floods cause to public health and property [
10
,
11
]. However, even in places where waste is collected,
it may still end up being dumped in low-lying areas or just anywhere outside the city. This means
that open dumping will affect local water sources and adversely affect the environment. More than
3 billion people lack access to controlled disposal for their waste [
7
]. In recognition of this global
problem, SDG Target 11.6 states: “By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities,
including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management”.
Also, SDG 6 on water and sanitation explicitly addresses the problem of waste dumping in its Target
6.3: “By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing
release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and
substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally”. Consequently, tackling this global waste
crisis, by ensuring access to adequate, safe, and affordable solid waste collection services for all and
by eliminating uncontrolled dumping and open burning, would constitute a major contribution to
sustainable development as defined by the UN SDGs.
In addition to that, the elimination of open dumping is the necessary stepping stone toward
environmentally sound waste disposal, which is explicitly addressed by Target 12.4: “By 2020, achieve
the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle,
in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air,
water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment”.
When the current modernisation process started in developed countries in the 1970s, ‘modern’
waste management was largely defined in engineering terms—a technical problem with a technical
solution. Accordingly, there is a considerable body of scientific and professional literature on
technologies necessary for waste collection and waste disposal, e.g., [
12
15
]. Gradually, however,
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 3 of 18
as many city authorities will confirm from their own experience, the world community learnt that no
technology could on its own solve the problems related to economic and social sustainability of waste
management activities; in other words, that the governance aspects of the necessary actions need to be
duly considered. In comparison to technical aspects, governance aspects have been less systematically
examined, particularly in relation to SDGs. This paper is a contribution toward this body of literature.
The objective of the paper is to identify the appropriate governance instruments necessary for
the provision of basic services of waste collection and controlled disposal (i.e., SWM related Goals
1 and 2 in Table 1) as the necessary initial steps in developing an effective solid waste management
system. With this focus, the paper is most relevant to developing countries, and in particular to many
lower-income countries. Attention here is specifically on SWM, but the principles of good governance
discussed here are likely to be applicable also in other areas of sustainable development that are related
to human settlements.
The paper is structured in four sections. Section 1is an introduction into SDGs and their
relationships with SWM; Section 2presents the methods used and the analytical framework adopted
for the analysis of policy instruments in the study; Section 3, comprising the research results, is divided
into three parts, each addressing one of the three categories of policy instruments, according to the
classification adopted. Finally, Section 4provides the main conclusions as well as a brief summary of
the results.
2. Methods and Analytical Framework
2.1. Methods
This study is conducted in continuation of the research done by the authors for the UNEP’s
2015 Global Waste Management Outlook [
7
]. For the GWMO, starting from an extensive literature
review, an exhaustive list of governance instruments and issues in implementation was compiled.
Subsequently, the list and its organisation have been iteratively subjected to several rounds of
commentary by a large group of stakeholders from six continents, who had been identified and
approached by UNEP. In addition to comments, the reviewers provided numerous examples from
their practice, which illustrated particular governance instruments and issues. In this sense, this is
a case of transdisciplinary research [
16
], where a variety of stakeholders contributed to shaping
the final document with their contributions drawn from local experiences. In addition to the
GWMO, the examples of experiences from cities worldwide draw upon the authors’ research for
the UN-HABITAT’s 2010 Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities [
17
], and its later expansion using
the Wasteaware benchmark indicators [18].
2.2. Analytical Framework
While the usage and the exact meaning of the term governance varies across scientific
literature, e.g., [
19
21
], the study adopts the analytical framework developed by the authors
and
colleagues [11,17,18]
based on the concept of Integrated Sustainable Waste Management [
22
].
The framework distinguishes between the physical components (the ‘What’ dimension of a SWM
system) and the governance (the ‘How’ and the ‘Who’ dimensions of a SWM system). Of the physical
components of a SWM system, this study addresses waste collection services for all and controlled
disposal as the essential initial stepping stones for public health and the environment. This paper
focuses on the governance aspects of the efforts needed to achieve such services. It firstly identifies
the policy instruments that have been essential to apply to this end. However, enacting legislation
or opting for other policy instruments is just an initial step toward effective services. Therefore,
due attention is given to their implementation and enforcement in practice, where arguably the most
challenges lie. This necessarily broadens the discussion from the ‘How’ dimension to look also at the
‘Who’ dimension within our definition of governance, considering in particular the service users and
the various potential service providers.
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 4 of 18
Table 1. Relationship between Sustainable Development Goals and Solid Waste Management.
Sustainability 2017, 9, 404 4 of 18
Table 1. Relationship between Sustainable Development Goals and Solid Waste Management.
Driver
Sustainable Development Solid Waste Management (SWM)
Sustainable
Development Goal
(SDG) I
Specific Target SWM Related ‘Virtual SDG’ II
Protection of public
health
SDG 11: Sustainable
cities
11.1 Ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and
affordable basic services; upgrading slums
Goal 1. Ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and
affordable solid waste collection services.
Uncollected waste is often dumped in waterways or burned in
the open air, thus directly causing pollution and
contamination. Waste also clogs the drains, which exacerbates
floods, keeping stagnant water and contributing to
water-borne diseases and malaria. Children are among the
most vulnerable, so they are affected the most.
SDG 3: Good health and
well-being
3.2 End preventable deaths of children under 5 years
3.3 End malaria and combat water-borne diseases
3.9 Reduce illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air,
water and soil pollution, and contamination
SDG 11: Sustainable
cities
11.6 Reduce the adverse environmental impact of cities;
special attention to waste management
Protection of the environment
LOCAL
Goal 2. Eliminate uncontrolled dumping and open
burning, as the first stepping-stone to achieving
environmentally sound SWM practices.
Goal 3. Achieve environmentally sound
management of all wastes, particularly hazardous
wastes (either chemical or biological hazardous wastes).
SDG 12: Responsible
consumption and
production
12.4 Environmentally sound management of chemicals
and all wastes in order to minimize their adverse
impacts on human health and the environment
SDG 6: Clean water and
sanitation
6.3 Improve water quality by reducing pollution,
eliminating dumping and minimizing release of
hazardous materials
SDG 15: Life on land 15.1 Ensure the conservation of terrestrial and inland
freshwater ecosystems and their services
GLOBAL
SDG 7: Affordable and
clean energy
7.2 Increase the share of renewable energy in the global
energy mix
Goal 3. SWM technologies can derive renewable energy
from (organic) waste.
SDG 13: Climate action SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change
and its impacts
Goal 3. Adequate SWM practices can prevent emissions
of large amounts of greenhouse gases. III
SDG 14: Life below
water
14.1 Prevent marine pollution of all kinds, in particular
from land-based activities, including marine debris
Goal 1 and Goal 2. Extending waste collection to all and
eliminating uncontrolled dumping will prevent waste
(particularly plastics) ending up in the oceans.
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 5 of 18
Table 1. Cont.
Sustainability 2017, 9, 404 5 of 18
Table 1. Cont.
Driver
Sustainable Development Solid Waste Management (SWM)
Sustainable
Development Goal
(SDG) I
Specific Target SWM Related ‘Virtual SDG’ II
Resource value
SDG 12: Responsible
consumption and
production
12.5 Reduce waste through prevention, reduction,
recycling, and reuse
12.3 Halve global food waste and reduce food losses
along production and supply chains
This SDG also contributes to SDG 2: Zero hunger—End
hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition,
and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 4. Substantially reduce waste generation
through prevention and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse,
recycle) and thereby create ‘green’ jobs
Waste prevention is the highest-ranking option in the waste
management hierarchy. It is followed by reuse of products or
their parts, and then by recycling of component materials.
Goal 5. Halve per capita global food waste at the
retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses in
the supply chain. IV
Supplementary driver:
Inclusivity
SDG 1: No poverty
1.4 Ensure that all men and women, in particular the
poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to
economic resources and financial services,
including microfinance
Goal 4
Reuse and recycling have a significant potential for creation
of jobs.
Goal 1 and Goal 4
In developing countries, SWM services are often provided by
individuals and small and microenterprises. Any measures
applied to support them will improve livelihoods and directly
contribute to SDGs 1 and 8.
SDG 8: Decent work and
economic growth
SDG 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic
growth, employment and decent work for all
I Source of SDGs and targets: [6]. The wording of the targets is shortened. Dotted lines denote overlap. II Source of SWM related ‘Virtual SDGs’: [7]. Explanations are
given in italics. III The potential of improved SWM practices to contribute to climate change mitigation is discussed in Topic Sheet 1 of the Global Waste Management
Outlook (GWMO) [7] (pp. 12–15). IV Examples of global good practices of food waste prevention are presented in Topic Sheet 11, Case Study 3, and Box 4.8 of the
GWMO [7] (pp. 114–115, pp. 116–119 and p. 140, respectively).
I
Source of SDGs and targets: [
6
]. The wording of the targets is shortened. Dotted lines denote overlap.
II
Source of SWM related ‘Virtual SDGs’: [
7
]. Explanations are given in italics.
III
The
potential of improved SWM practices to contribute to climate change mitigation is discussed in Topic Sheet 1 of the Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO) [
7
] (pp. 12–15).
IV
Examples
of global good practices of food waste prevention are presented in Topic Sheet 11, Case Study 3, and Box 4.8 of the GWMO [7] (pp. 114–115, pp. 116–119 and p. 140, respectively).
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 6 of 18
Policy instruments deployed to achieve goals can be divided into a few main groups. In the
GWMO, and in this study, we adapted the typology of policy instruments from Taylor et al. [
23
],
who distinguish five types:
Direct ‘command and control’ regulation,
Economic instruments,
Information-based instruments,
Co-regulation and self-regulation,
Support mechanisms and capacity building.
In the GWMO, we kept direct regulation (‘command-and-control’ approach) and economic
instruments. However, we inserted co-regulation and self-regulation as a subtype of direct regulation.
We also combined information-based instruments with support mechanisms and capacity building
into one type, here termed ‘social’ instruments, because they include some form of ‘social’ interaction
and communication among stakeholders in the system, either with or without direct participation of
government. The term ‘social’ instruments also better covers the full range of meanings and contents
of interaction and communication, as they take place not only on the intellectual level but also engage
emotions and may involve direct experience.
The three categories of policy instruments adopted here are presented in Figure 1below. It is
worth noting that Bemelmans-Videc et al. [
24
] also group policy instruments into three equivalent
categories, namely ‘sticks’ (for direct regulation), ‘carrots’ (for economic instruments), and ‘sermons’
(representing communication and information-based instruments). Other authors do not explicitly
classify policy instruments [25].
Sustainability 2017, 9, 404 6 of 18
Policy instruments deployed to achieve goals can be divided into a few main groups. In the
GWMO, and in this study, we adapted the typology of policy instruments from Taylor et al. [23],
who distinguish five types:
Direct ‘command and control’ regulation,
Economic instruments,
Information-based instruments,
Co-regulation and self-regulation,
Support mechanisms and capacity building.
In the GWMO, we kept direct regulation (‘command-and-control’ approach) and economic
instruments. However, we inserted co-regulation and self-regulation as a subtype of direct
regulation. We also combined information-based instruments with support mechanisms and
capacity building into one type, here termed ‘social’ instruments, because they include some form of
‘social’ interaction and communication among stakeholders in the system, either with or without
direct participation of government. The term ‘social’ instruments also better covers the full range of
meanings and contents of interaction and communication, as they take place not only on the
intellectual level but also engage emotions and may involve direct experience.
The three categories of policy instruments adopted here are presented in Figure 1 below. It is
worth noting that Bemelmans-Videc et al. [24] also group policy instruments into three equivalent
categories, namely ‘sticks’ (for direct regulation), ‘carrots’ (for economic instruments), and ‘sermons’
(representing communication and information-based instruments). Other authors do not explicitly
classify policy instruments [25].
Figure 1. Policy instruments for SWM. Source: [7] (Figure 4.1, p.128).
3. Results—Governance Aspects of Basic SWM Services
In recognition of solid waste collection and sanitation services as essential contributors to public
health, authorities have been putting in place and implementing various policy instruments for this
purpose in cities around the world for centuries, including many older cities in developing countries.
Addressing controlled disposal is a more recent policy goal, which brings into play a whole new set
of governance related issues. Beyond controlled disposal as an intermediate goal, the ultimate goal is
protection of the environment through environmentally sound waste treatment and disposal, as well
as through environmentally sound resource recovery activities, and the transition from a liner to a
circular economy [7]. This is to say that other physical components, such as environmentally sound
Figure 1. Policy instruments for SWM. Source: [7] (Figure 4.1, p.128).
3. Results—Governance Aspects of Basic SWM Services
In recognition of solid waste collection and sanitation services as essential contributors to public
health, authorities have been putting in place and implementing various policy instruments for this
purpose in cities around the world for centuries, including many older cities in developing countries.
Addressing controlled disposal is a more recent policy goal, which brings into play a whole new set of
governance related issues. Beyond controlled disposal as an intermediate goal, the ultimate goal is
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 7 of 18
protection of the environment through environmentally sound waste treatment and disposal, as well
as through environmentally sound resource recovery activities, and the transition from a liner to
a circular
economy [
7
]. This is to say that other physical components, such as environmentally sound
treatment and disposal and resource recovery from waste, need to be considered from the outset so
as to ensure and capitalise on the synergy of actions toward strategic long-term goals of the system.
In other words, it is important and beneficial to ensure coherence of policy goals and cohesion among
the instruments applied to achieve them [26,27].
3.1. Direct Regulation and Its Implementation
3.1.1. Direct Regulation for Waste Collection Services
Due to the importance of public health as one of the fundamental policy goals, countries all over
the world have national legislation in place requiring measures related to sanitation and solid waste
management. Regarding SWM, such legislation allocates the legal responsibility to a party, commonly
the waste generator, for ensuring that the waste is collected and removed from its point of generation
and transported to an appropriate facility. For municipal solid waste this responsibility is placed on
municipalities or counties or a similar level of local government. For other types of waste, commercial
and industrial generators are responsible for arranging that their waste be adequately taken care of.
While countries have relevant legislation, the implementation in practice is inadequate in many
places, with the result that waste collection services are simply not available to all citizens. The reasons
for this situation are manifold, ranging from inadequate capacities of the authorities in charge to the
lack of political commitment and support, to the lack of willingness and ability to pay of service users,
to, in some cases, the lack of enabling local legislation to engage other parties.
National legislation does not necessarily stipulate which actor is to provide the actual services;
it is usually up to the municipalities to decide and specify in their local by-laws whether they will
provide the service themselves or outsource it to a third party.
In developing countries, municipal waste departments usually lack financial and technical
capacities to provide adequate services to the growing city population. As part of the remedy,
public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been promoted in development policies as a means of
harnessing the expertise, efficiencies, and investment that the private sector can bring to the delivery
of public services. The evidence shows however [
17
,
28
] that the waste collection coverage and quality
of services are not necessarily related to the type of service provider, public or private, including
the variants of each. In other words, there are examples of good and bad services for each type and
subtype of service provider. Having said that, a number of issues have been identified concerning the
successful implementation of public-private partnerships. For diverse models of PPPs to ‘work’ in
practice, municipal authorities need—and often lack—the competencies to fulfil their ‘client’ role in
interaction with private sector service providers. The competences to successfully initiate, develop,
negotiate, award, and manage PPPs in SWM—as well as in public services and (urban) infrastructure
projects in general [
29
,
30
]—are essential to change the status quo and improve the situation. In some
cases, such as Malaysia, the central government intervened and took the ‘client’ role on behalf of
municipalities to overcome this critical situation [7] (Box 4.33, p. 188).
For example, large private companies tend to be more interested in providing waste collection
services in more affluent areas such as city business districts and affluent residential areas, where the
streets allow easy access to larger vehicles and where service users are more likely to pay a higher fee
than in other areas of the city. This is the main challenge in terms of the related SDGs—while the city
centres are usually clean, access to services is still a serious issue in the rapidly growing peri-urban
fringes. For these areas, the solution may be in engaging smaller service providers, including small and
microenterprises and their organisations, including the informal sector, to provide primary collection
services. Elaboration of various operator models applied in selected cities around the world can
be found in [
28
], while Topic Sheet 14 in [
7
] (pp. 176–179) presents a discussion of the informal
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 8 of 18
sector. At the same time, the full support and cooperation from the municipal waste department
are indispensable, both for secondary collection and transport to a facility as an essential physical
component of the SWM system, and for giving legitimacy and securing acceptance by the service users.
Alternatively, if a larger private company (rather than the municipal waste department) provides
secondary collection and transport, municipal authorities have an essential role to align the parties
involved toward the common goal of better SWM performance. In the same way that municipal
waste departments often lack capacity, so do small service providers; for example, the capacity to
prepare a business plan or negotiate contracts or obtain small-scale and affordable finance. As they
can be very valuable contributors to the effective overall SWM system, in many places it is worthwhile
for municipal officials to collaborate with these and other stakeholders to build their capacities and
facilitate access to finance, as the examples of Kampala, Uganda [
7
] (Box 4.27, p. 175) and Lusaka,
Zambia [17] (pp. 66–67) illustrate.
The transition to a new way of providing the services may evoke resistance from the municipal
waste department, both from higher-ranking officers and the workers. Officers in charge may
be reluctant to change their ways and look down at collaboration with small service providers.
Such an attitude
is more likely to develop in response to initiatives coming from ‘outside’—from
central government or foreign development aid organisations. Municipal waste workers may fear
for their jobs and actually sabotage the newly introduced services provided by a third party, as the
cases in, for example, Nicaragua [
31
] and Malaysia [
7
] (Box 4.33, p. 188) testify. Regardless of whether
such fears are founded or not, it takes a lot of appropriate communication with a high degree of
openness and transparency for them to subside. However, the necessary communication and public
relations skills may also be lacking in the municipal waste department, where officers in charge may
be engineers. To make matters worse, the pressure of inadequate financial and technical capacities and
the ‘fire fighting’ mode of day-to-day operations to meet the citizens’ needs do not leave much time
and resources for staff development. There are examples, however, where bilateral cooperation and
exchange with colleagues from foreign twin-cities has contributed to capacity development, as in the
cases of Cebu City in the Philippines, the city of Bo in Sierra Leone, and their European partners [
7
]
(Box 4.29, p. 183 and Case Study 7, pp. 255–259, respectively).
It is clearly important that the local laws and regulations allow for solutions involving third
parties and indeed facilitate the inclusion of various service providers. If, in contrast, the pertinent
by-laws are formulated so that municipal waste departments have a duty and the sole access to
waste, while other parties do not—thus effectively forbidding the access to waste to any other party
but the municipal waste department—areas of the city most in need of development may remain
underserviced [
32
]. This touches upon a broader issue of access to valuable materials in waste and
the question of who actually owns waste [
33
]. This issue is certainly relevant for waste collection
services in general, but even more so for (separate) collection services for the purpose of recovery
of resource value through reuse and recycling. Clearly, having legal authority to access the valuable
waste materials provides regulatory certainty for interested parties to invest and engage in related
SWM activities.
In some cases where city authorities failed to provide adequate services, other actors took the
initiative and organised services in their neighbourhoods themselves, either as an enterprise or
a cooperative. Examples include educated but unemployed youth in Mombasa, Kenya, a group of
women in Bamako, Mali, and residents of a few wards in Dhaka, Bangladesh [
17
] (Box 5.26, p. 199;
pp. 48–49 and p. 100; and Box 4.6, p. 99, respectively). The first two groups have not only provided
the much-needed services in the area but also managed to create jobs and a source of income for
themselves. The Dhaka initiative received attention from the rest of the city as well as from other cities
and was later on copied in several places across the country.
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 9 of 18
3.1.2. Direct Regulation for Controlled Waste Disposal
The environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s was instrumental in adding environmental
protection to public health as a driving force for policy formulation. Consequently, environmental
legislation has been instituted that requires measures of environmental protection to be applied to
waste facilities and services. However, before countries embark on imposing stringent imported
standards, the first essential step is getting waste to a controlled facility.
Much like in the case of waste collection, the problem with waste disposal is in the implementation
of this legislation. Practices of open dumping and burning are explicitly against the law in most
countries, but lack of law enforcement means that such practices continue in many developing
countries. In other words, for environmental legislation to be effective and meaningful, it is essential
that it be supported by decisive and visible enforcement. Without it, the waste industry as we currently
know it in developed countries would not exist—waste would just be dumped at the lowest cost,
causing huge damage and ensuing costs to society through adverse health impacts and pollution.
However, enforcement is based on information gathered through regular monitoring and inspection,
which can be administratively ‘heavy’, requiring considerable institutional capacities and involving
high costs to run.
At the same time, there must be a synchronised effort to actually have facilities in place, ready
to receive the waste once the regulations are enforced. This has been called the ‘implementation
conundrum’—regulations say that waste generators need to use a certain type of facility, but the
regulations cannot be enforced until those facilities are available. However, until the regulations are
enforced and non-compliant facilities closed down, no one will invest in the higher cost facilities that
are needed for regulations to be enforced, as their gate fees will be undercut by the non-compliant
facilities. This was very much evidenced with hazardous wastes in the 1980s—for example, there were
several high profile cases in the USA, where new facilities went bankrupt within a few months because
non-compliant facilities were still available just across the State border [34].
However, getting from a situation with no facilities at all to the state-of-the-art facilities in
one ‘leap’ is unrealistic. The ‘answer’ is in gradual implementation, where each step is relatively
small and attainable with the resources available. The case of Moshi, Tanzania, mentioned below
is a good example. This is also how the development proceeded in Europe and North America
from the 1970s, in a series of steps, first focusing on upgrading dumpsites to controlled disposal;
then gradually increasing the environmental standards; then turning attention to diversion from
disposal [
8
]. By making each step relatively small, this helped mitigate both the ‘implementation
conundrum’, in that each step in facility sophistication (and related incremental cost) was not so huge;
and the ‘enforcement conundrum’, in that the increase in needed capacity (and related cost) of the
environmental regulator was manageable. The end goal of environmentally sound waste disposal does
however need to be borne in mind from the outset. Depending on the size of cities, inter-municipal
cooperation may contribute to solve the problem of waste disposal, offering economies of scale for
facilities and benefits of centralised operations and environmental controls.
To reinforce the point regarding gradual improvement, it is worth mentioning situations where
countries that were just starting to bring their waste disposal under any level of control adopted
technical standards for engineered landfills from other countries, which were among the most
stringent in the world. In those circumstances it was a rather meaningless exercise in legislation.
Such unrealistically stringent standards were actually counterproductive, as the stakeholders affected
by them knew that there would be no enforcement, which removed any incentive for efforts to improve
disposal practices.
Finally, similarly to the citizens taking action to organise waste collection service, it is sometimes
also citizens who precipitate enactment or enforcement of environmental legislation on waste disposal.
This was the case in, e.g., the UK where, following the discovery of hazardous waste dumped near
residential areas and ensuing public outrage and media coverage, the UK Deposit of Poisonous Waste
Act 1972 was drafted and passed by Parliament within just a month. In India, it was the action by
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 10 of 18
an individual—the case of Almitra H. Patel v. Union of India—that accelerated the preparation of
the landmark environmental legislation, the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling)
Rules of 2000 [
7
] (p. 181). In many places, usually with the support of advocacy Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs), local communities near the dumpsites will at a certain point protest and take
action against dumping near their residences. A current global initiative by the International Solid
Waste Association (ISWA) to close 50 of the world’s most notorious dumpsites gives voice to such local
actions [35].
3.2. Economic Instruments
3.2.1. Economic Instruments for Waste Collection Services
Based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, various economic instruments have been devised to finance
waste management activities or achieve desired behaviour on the part of actors in the system. In most
cities, some degree of cost recovery from user charges is in place. However, due to the significance
of waste collection for public health, direct cost recovery from paying users, although considered
important, is not the central feature of financial management in the cities examined for this study.
In addition to the need to protect public health, authorities are concerned that the introduction of direct
user charges could be a perverse incentive for some waste generators to continue with indiscriminate
dumping and burning. In some cities, the charges are deliberately kept low; in others, no measures are
taken to increase low payment rates among residents [
17
]. If the charges do not entirely cover the costs
entailed, the remainder is provided from municipal property or a similar tax or from budgets allocated
by the national government.
However, even in high-income countries, there is no uniformity in approach—e.g., in the UK,
it is explicitly prohibited for municipalities to impose a direct user charge; instead, people pay via an
indirect property tax. In the Netherlands, funding is derived from a combination of user charges and
property tax in varying proportions across the municipalities; in some cases there is a cross subsidy,
where the majority of residents pay a bit more so that the poorest people pay less or not at all.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, if the city authorities are introducing a direct charge to the users for
the first time, citizens will generally resist such a change, using the rationale that either those public
services ought to be provided by the city free of charge, or the citizens have already been paying for
them via other taxes or charges. Such resistance has been observed in Latin America, Africa, Asia,
and Europe alike. As such, the issue has often been highly politicised, as for example, in the UK where
the incoming government in 2010 repealed the law that had recently been passed by the previous
government, which would have allowed local governments to trial direct user charges.
Interestingly, however, residents of slums and other settlements without services are usually
willing to pay for primary collection service if these were to be introduced, as for example, in Maputo,
Mozambique [
36
,
37
]. The benefits of a good and reliable primary waste collection service—literally
getting waste out from under foot—are easy to see for the residents, as it directly contributes to the
cleanliness of their immediate living surroundings and better health of their children. Anecdotally,
one of the two highest paid jobs in Kibera, the large slum in Nairobi, Kenya, is that of emptying pit
latrines—clearly, ridding the neighbourhood of their waste (in this case, human excreta) is as important
to slum dwellers as it is to residents of planned areas.
Securing financial sustainability of the service provision is an essential governance aspect that
needs to be considered from the outset of any initiatives to introduce waste collection services. This is
particularly important in cases where this is done within projects supported by international or bilateral
development aid agencies, as financing after the project ends can be problematic even in very successful
projects, as was the case in Cochabamba, Bolivia [
7
] (Box 4.28, p. 180). In this regard it is actually
favourable that large—and costly—high tech vehicles and equipment are not appropriate for slum
areas with their narrow streets and hanging electricity cables. This means that the costs of appropriate
vehicles are lower and thereby more affordable.
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 11 of 18
3.2.2. Economic Instruments for Controlled Waste Disposal
Unlike the benefits of good waste collection service, the benefits of secondary collection, transport,
and environmentally sound waste disposal are not directly visible to service users or obvious to city
dwellers in general. Therefore, they are often not willing to pay for these. In addition to the willingness
to pay, affordability of charges becomes an issue in low-income countries and expecting people to
pay will be problematic. Actually, it is only in high-income countries that user charges are calculated
based on the real costs incurred. Therefore, investments in environmentally sound landfill technology
and adequate financing of disposal site operations will be difficult in low-income countries. However,
bringing disposal under control, getting from open dumping and burning to a basic level of controlled
operations, can be done even under severe financial constraints, as the town of Moshi, Tanzania,
exemplifies through their 3Cs approach to disposal: Confine, Compact, Cover [17] (p. 110).
Searching for sites with favourable geological, hydrogeological, and geotechnical characteristics
may pay off in significant savings on engineered barriers to the migration of contaminants from
disposed municipal waste. If combined with ecological criteria that protect the habitats of sensitive
species, such disposal sites have a potential to markedly contribute to SDGs. A good example is the
town of Ghorahi, Nepal, where a group of thoughtful and committed municipal authorities and local
stakeholders managed to develop an environmentally sound waste processing and disposal facility
under the conditions of very limited technical and financial capacities, without any financial support
from abroad [11].
An important lesson has been learnt from the experiences in both developed and developing
countries. In developed countries a lot of effort was put into developing the science and technology of
environmental controls and building state-of-the-art landfills, only to realise that the costs are very high,
thus seeking to avoid landfilling altogether. Similar problems can occur in developing countries, where,
for example, operation of a distant disposal site may entail prohibitively high transportation costs
and thus jeopardise the efforts toward environmentally sound waste practices. Here it is particularly
important to take the 3Rs into account from the beginning of the planning process, as it can be a
win-win situation for all parties. Reuse and recycling not only provides livelihoods for those involved,
but can also markedly decrease the amounts of waste destined for disposal, thus both reducing the
city’s costs and prolonging the use period of the costly disposal facility [
7
] (Topic Sheet 14, pp. 176–179).
In recognition of the difficulties in securing funding for waste treatment and disposal, alternative
financing methods have been devised. Donor funding was used for the capital costs of new landfills
(for example, in Lusaka, Zambia) or for major upgrading of the existing dumpsites (for example,
in Dhaka, Bangladesh) [
17
] (p. 109). Funding of landfill operations in various places was provided
through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) introduced under the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM
enabled carbon credits to be obtained based on the evidence of capture and use of landfill gas.
This provided an annual ‘revolving fund’, paid upon presenting the evidence, which then provided
funding to the city for the next year’s proper operation, and so on. As the payments were directly
related to landfill gas capture, this constituted a direct financial incentive for cities to operate their
landfills as designed. Currently, the replacement (and potentially more flexible) financing mechanism,
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), is expected to provide similar and indeed wider
incentives [
38
]. In other words, while likely to be problematic if tackled on its own, financing of waste
disposal can be achieved if integrated with broader development goals. More details on financing
models and their use for municipal SWM can be found in Sections 5.4 through 5.9 of the GWMO [
7
]
(pp. 222–250).
More broadly, the economic instruments of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for products
from abroad, such as electrical and electronic (EEE) equipment, in combination with the interests
of local recyclers, have proven to be effective in tackling recycling and disposal of e-waste in some
African countries [
7
] (Case Study 1, pp. 99–101). There have also been anecdotal examples where an
ad hoc voluntary ‘EPR’ agreement was made between European donors and African recipients that,
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 12 of 18
once the donated computers reach the stage beyond repair, European donors will take them back for
processing in Europe.
An important—and in the past often overlooked—economic aspect is the need for some form of
compensation to the host community if new disposal sites are planned nearby. In general, as notorious
LULUs (locally unwanted land uses), waste facilities are an unwelcome neighbour anywhere in the
world, e.g., [
39
]. The prospect of their construction will usually be met by fierce opposition by local
residents, businesses, and their organisations. Such a NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude often
comes from a lack of trust in the authorities, originating from their previous failure to protect public
interests. In that context, compensation to local communities can be useful in convincing people to
accept new waste facilities, from small transfer stations to landfills, near their houses [
31
]. As such
a situation is also linked to the issue of environmental justice, adequate compensation will often be in
terms of other public services including paved roads, a school, or a healthcare clinic. However, it is
critical that alongside the community benefits, the environmental standards promised for the new
waste facility are really delivered. This is discussed further in Section 3.3.2 below.
There are many other economic instruments pertinent to SWM and to the transition from the
current linear to a regenerative use of natural resources in a circular economy, but they are not
directly applicable for the goals of basic waste collection services for all and controlled disposal.
These instruments are discussed in Section 4.5 and Topic Sheet 13 of the GWMO [
7
] (pp. 155–159,
and pp. 160–165, respectively).
3.3. Social Instruments
3.3.1. Social Instruments for Waste Collection Services
Any change in the SWM system that entails changes in waste generators’ attitudes and day-to-day
habits requires appropriate actions to achieve such a change as it is not likely to happen on its own
accord. Putting waste out for collection instead of dumping or burning in the yard or somewhere
nearby will involve a significant degree of behavioural change on the part of householders. In fact,
it is the ‘mirror image’ of collection coverage, i.e., the availability of a reliable and affordable waste
collection service. This means that, in addition to legal, technical, and economic aspects, the necessary
behavioural change is an important aspect that requires focused attention. Some of the models and
theories of change are discussed in Section 4.6 and in the literature listed in Annex A of the GWMO [
7
]
(p. 166 and p. 320, respectively).
For this, various social instruments have been devised, primarily based on communication
and exchange with the public and other actors in the system. This means that government and
public administration agencies depart from their traditional role as legislator and regulator and
take a different role, that of frame setting, engaging, communicating, educating, and negotiating.
Campaigns to raise environmental awareness and impart new behaviours can take various forms,
ranging from conventional ones such as informative posters, to innovative and artistic ones such as
educational street theatre, to electronic messaging services through social media. Other successful
examples include radio drama in some African countries, traditional chanting in some countries of
Central Asia, and promotional events deriving from Carnival in the streets of some South American
cities. Clearly, local culture, customs, and habits have been taken as the starting point for selection of
the appropriate forms of social instruments. In addition, social instruments for SWM are more likely
to be effective if they take into account people’s daily realities where other pressing issues compete for
their attention and time. Holding meetings with the citizens, their communities, and leaders, in an
atmosphere of open dialogue and mutual respect, has worked well in countries as different as, e.g.,
Sweden, Mali, and Italy. Other social instruments that have been used in SWM include variants of
what is popularly known as ‘name and fame’ campaigns, whereby best performing neighbourhoods,
cities, or companies are given publicity in the media, public praise, and prizes. Alternatively, ‘name
and shame’ campaigns are used to expose poor practices.
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 13 of 18
In addition to raising awareness, providing clear instructions is essential to enable people to
develop the appropriate habits and behaviours in handling their waste—an element that surprisingly
often gets forgotten when new services are introduced.
While concentrating on waste collection service, segregation at source needs to be considered
from the outset so as to promote reuse and 3Rs as policy goals in coherence with those of public health.
In many places in developing countries, people are involved to some degree in the recovery of resource
value from waste through their interactions with repair and reuse shops and/or with itinerant buyers
of discarded products and waste materials. In contrast, people often look down at waste pickers
searching for recyclables in street containers as being dirty. The ‘inconvenient’ message is that waste
pickers get dirty while picking recyclables from mixed waste because these same citizens have not
segregated their waste in the first place, as eloquently put by NGOs working with informal recyclers.
Similarly to the issues discussed under ‘Direct regulation’ above, the institutional capacities may
not be adequate in municipal waste departments for such tasks. When financial resources are under
pressure, any budgets previously allocated to communication with the public would likely be the first
to be cut in the face of perceived more urgent tasks. Also here, like above, collaboration with other
stakeholders could be beneficial for the overall SWM system. In this case, it would be calling upon the
expertise, capacities, and natural role of schools and various advocacy NGOs to organise awareness
raising campaigns and help establish and maintain dialogue with the community.
It is not only citizens who need to change their behaviour and habits. This also applies to
municipal waste departments, which need to take and implement concrete actions at the level of
management. They also need to ensure that their waste collection crews actually take the newly
collected waste and transport it to a disposal facility. The crews’ resistance to change has already been
discussed in the context of implementation of direct regulation.
3.3.2. Social Instruments for Controlled Waste Disposal
In the case of construction of a new landfill, it takes a lot of open communication to overcome
NIMBY attitudes. The only experience that the local community has of waste disposal is what has
happened previously, and if that was uncontrolled dumping, then that is what they will expect. It will
take a lot of time and effort to establish trust, both that the promises made by the authorities that ‘this
time it will be different’ are genuine, and that the higher environmental standards of operation that
have been promised are financially sustainable and will be enforced in practice by the environmental
regulator. As previously discussed, the ability to offer some compensation to the host community
can be helpful. Equally, if trust is not established and nurtured, any compensation offered will raise
suspicion and may be perceived as another form of manipulation and lack of respect for the people,
their lives, and realities. Operating the new facility to the promised environmental standards is
absolutely critical—seeing is believing—and being able to visit a new or existing good facility in
a neighbouring city will go a long way in convincing protesters that the promises are genuine.
In the case of a dumpsite upgrade, it is likely that there are waste pickers present at the dumpsite.
While opinions differ on the desired course of action, most practitioners agree that some appropriate
arrangements need to be made with the pickers for the upgraded disposal site [
17
] (Key Sheet 8,
pp. 111–112), [
40
]. However, if done in a way that does not take into account the realities and
interests of the waste pickers, this may be met with their fierce opposition, resulting in aggravation
and prolongation of the dire situation, as was the case in e.g., Karachi, Pakistan [
41
]. Therefore,
any interaction in such a complex situation demands a lot of effort to establish trust and understanding
on both sides, in accordance with inclusivity as a characteristic of good governance.
3.3.3. Social Instruments for SWM in General
The chances that citizens will adopt new patterns of behaviour and get involved will be higher
if the local authorities lead by example, in other words, if they exemplify the desired behaviour
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 14 of 18
in government buildings and their vicinity. This plays an equal role in developed and developing
countries, as eloquently captured in a UK report with the telling title: I will if you will [42].
A common factor in successful waste management, and indeed other development interventions,
is often a high degree of interest and commitment from political leaders [
43
,
44
]. The towns of Moshi,
Tanzania, and Ghorahi, Nepal, introduced above as good examples, demonstrate the importance
of political commitment by the local authorities [
11
]. Similarly, keen interest and leadership by the
Mayor have been instrumental in delivering change in SWM of many large cities around the world,
including Milan (Italy), Cebu City (Philippines), and Seattle (Washington State, USA) [
7
] (Case Study 4,
pp. 120–124; Box 4.29, p. 183; and Box 4.9, p. 141, respectively). Conversely, SWM has such high local
visibility that it can be used for political purposes; for example, services may be intensified in the
period preceding elections or they may become a ‘political football’, with the changes made by one
administration being immediately reversed by the incoming party. Such a situation should be avoided,
for the benefit of the city, citizens, and the policy goals—and indeed the Sustainable Development
Goals—of public health and the environment to which SWM contributes.
4. Conclusions
Solid waste management is an integral component of actions for achieving at least 12 out of
the 17 UN SDGs. Improvements in SWM and 3Rs will substantially contribute to the better living
conditions and better health of more than 2–3 billion people who currently lack services, prevent
plastics entering the oceans, significantly contribute to climate change mitigation, and help restore
terrestrial ecosystems. In the process, decent jobs will be created, which will support many people and
their families on their way out of poverty.
Extending waste collection services to all citizens, eliminating open dumping and burning,
and upgrading dumpsites are arguably the essential initial steps that will make the most difference in
terms of the SDGs in lower-income developing countries. This paper focuses on governance aspects
of the actions necessary to achieve these basic improvements in SWM. For the analysis, the study
adopts a three-way categorisation of policy instruments from the GWMO: direct regulation, economic
instruments, and social instruments. A strong conclusion is that, rather than relying of any one of these,
a combination of complementary and well-coordinated measures from each of these three categories is
necessary to implement and sustainably maintain such services, as summarised in Table 2below.
Due to its importance for public health, the law in every country requires some form of SWM
to be in place. While the legal responsibility lies with municipalities to provide or organise services,
its implementation in practice is often inadequate in developing countries, mainly due to limited
technical and financial capacities within municipal administrations. In such cases, complementing the
public sector through collaboration with a range of other, private sector service providers, from large
private companies to small and microenterprises, can be effective in ensuring locally appropriate and
affordable services. However, for diverse models of PPPs to ‘work’ in practice, municipal authorities
need the competencies to fulfil their ‘client’ role, which are often lacking. Here, as in many other
governance aspects, capacity development is critical.
For disposal, in parallel with the preparation of legislation and its enforcement, there must be
a synchronised effort to actually have facilities in place, ready to receive the waste once the regulations
are enforced, and to actually close down non-compliant facilities. Otherwise, waste will continue to
go to uncontrolled dumpsites that cost the user very little or nothing at all, as various examples from
developed countries in the 1980s testify.
However, getting from a situation with no facilities to modern, state-of-the-art facilities in one
‘leap’ is unrealistic. Gradual implementation has worked much better, where each step is relatively
small and attainable with the resources available, both in terms of facilities and in terms of the
institutional capacities required for inspection and enforcement. The first step, bringing disposal under
control, and getting from open dumping and burning to a basic level of controlled operations, can be
done even under severe financial constraints, as the town of Moshi, Tanzania, exemplifies through
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 15 of 18
their 3Cs approach to disposal: Confine, Compact, Cover. The town of Ghorahi in Nepal provides
another example of global good practice, where an environmentally sound landfill was built relying
only on local funding.
In order to secure some form of financial sustainability for the municipal SWM service, it is likely
that direct charges to the users will need to be supplemented by other, indirect sources of funding.
Residents of slum settlements and other areas without services will in principle be willing to pay
for a primary waste collection service, as the benefits of a cleaner neighbourhood are easy for them
to see. However, the benefits of secondary collection, transport, and environmentally sound waste
disposal are not directly visible to service users or obvious to city dwellers in general. Therefore,
the willingness to pay—but also the affordability of the charges—will be problematic in low-income
countries. Gradual implementation will also help here. International development funding for the
capital costs of new facilities is important, but so too are mechanisms such as climate financing which
can in principle assist municipalities with the continuing operating costs of modern landfills and other
facilities that meet the required environmental standards.
Putting waste out for collection, instead of dumping or burning it in the yard or somewhere
nearby, will involve a significant degree of behavioural change on the part of householders.
While concentrating on collection, segregation at source needs to be considered from the outset
so as to promote reuse and 3Rs as policy goals; this too will require major efforts to change behaviours.
Also, collaboration with other service providers will require changes in the way that a municipal
waste department functions. There is an array of instruments, based on information, communication,
and exchange
, available for raising people’s awareness about waste and prompting them to adopt the
desired changes in their behaviour. While they have been applied with varying degree of success,
they always had to take into account peoples’ daily concerns and realities. As for establishing new
waste facilities, it takes a lot of effort and communication skills to open a dialogue and establish trust
with local communities. A key lesson is that the success of SWM interventions is much more likely if
there is a high degree of interest and commitment from political leaders.
Table 2.
Key governance aspects of extending waste collection to all and securing controlled disposal.
Class of Policy
Instruments
Goal 1: Waste
Collection to All
Goal 2: Controlled
Disposal
Necessary
Condition
Enabling/Facilitating
Factor
Direct regulation
Legal framework for
inclusion of both
public and private, and
both formal and
informal, service
providers
Strong regulations
requiring controls to
protect the
environment, and
credible and consistent
enforcement
Construction of
facilities in parallel
to the regulations
Institutional capacities
to both enforce law and
to work with various
service providers
Economic
instruments
Sustainable
financing—securing
funding for collection
services, including
some contribution
from direct charges
Sustainable
financing—securing
funding for facilities,
both capital costs and
the continuing costs of
operation
Affordability for
service users
Availability of national
and/or international
funding, including
EPR I
Social instruments
Awareness raising for
behaviour change and
clear instructions on
new services, to avoid
dumping and be
willing to pay
Awareness raising for
behaviour change, to
avoid dumping
Collaboration with
civil society
including media
Authorities engaging
with the public and
leading by example
IEPR—Extended Producer Responsibility.
The final conclusion is that efforts to extend waste collection services to all citizens, eliminate open
dumping and burning, and upgrade dumpsites depends as much on governance aspects as they do on
technology and the infrastructure installed. Improving these basic and essential services will make
a significant difference to the lives of billions of people around the world. It will also provide a solid
foundation for further improvements to SWM, including the transition from a linear to a circular
economy, and contribute to better governance in general.
Sustainability 2017,9, 404 16 of 18
Acknowledgments:
The authors gratefully acknowledge UN-HABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements
Programme) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) for their funding of the original
research studies.
Author Contributions:
The authors closely collaborated during the original research studies over a period of
several years. For the paper, the authors jointly developed the outline of the contents and were in discussion
throughout the writing process. Ljiljana Rodi´c wrote the text while David Wilson reviewed it.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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... The plethora of studies on LCA of MSW management to assess the ecosystem impacts, available options and required strategies in the context of developing economy are available in the literature (Cheela et al., 2021;Khandelwal et al., 2019;Sharma and Chandel, 2017;Yadav et al., 2018). Such studies will help identify the social, environmental and economic issues associated with MSW management to achieve SDGs (Rodić and Wilson, 2017). ...
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