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Guidance on recycling technologies for developing countries to be funded by CIWM

A guide to developing reuse and recycling technologies in low- and middle-income countries is to be developed by charity WasteAid UK and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM).

Guidance on recycling technologies for developing countries to be funded by CIWM
WasteAid trainees making charcoal briquettes from organic waste

The report, funded by CIWM, is being led by Professor David Wilson, CIWM Senior Vice President and Patron of WasteAid UK, and will be delivered by the charity, which works to establish waste management processes in developing countries, with support from consultancy Resource Futures, and will draw together the experience of WasteAid UK staff and associates, as well as other organisations that have delivered ‘waste to wealth’ projects.

The report will cover reprocessing technologies that require minimal or low capital investment and which produce products for local markets. It will provide case studies and ‘how to’ kits to encourage replication, for municipal solid waste and other key waste streams, as well as the necessary health and safety and environmental protection measures to protect both the workers and society.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s 2015 Global Waste Management Outlook, of which Professor Wilson was the Editor-in-Chief, warned that an ‘urgent response’ is needed to the 10 billion tonnes of urban waste that is produced globally each year, while a report from the International Solid Waste Association found that tens of million of people in developing countries are affected by inadequate sanitation infrastructure.

Commenting on the issue, Professor Wilson said: “More than two billion people worldwide do not have a waste collection service, which results in severe public health problems – through children playing amongst waste, blocked drains, infectious diseases and inhalation of smoke from open burning. Even when waste is collected, uncontrolled dumping is the norm – the waste of some three billion people isn’t disposed of safely.

“Many cities in Africa and Asia are growing so rapidly that in 15-20 years’ time they will be generating twice as much waste as they do today. Already struggling with the waste crisis, these cities desperately need targeted support from the international community. In the meantime, sustainable and self-financing community-led solutions can make immediate improvements, hence the focus of this research.”

WasteAid UK delivers training in community waste management in developing countries and in June won a National Energy Globe Award for its work in The Brikama, in The Gambia, where it brought ‘an entirely new approach to dealing with the longstanding and intransigent problem of bad waste management’.

As the Energy Globe organisation highlights, waste pollution has an effect on the human environment as well as the natural one: it states that 54 per cent of international variation in child height is explained by poor sanitation and waste management, and that stunting is also linked to lower scholastic achievement, intellectual function, reduced lifetime earnings, short adult stature, and in the case of women, adverse pregnancy outcomes.

According to the charity, 40 per cent of the world’s waste is not collected or treated, with open dumping and burning of waste causing many serious health problems and pollution of the environment. Implementing simple solid waste management practices can mitigate these risks, make greater use of resources and provide jobs that can prove very valuable in areas of severe economic deprivation.

The guidance will draw from experience form the charity’s projects, as well as others carried throughout the developing world and the document will be launched at the next CIWM Presidential inauguration in October 2017, after which WasteAid UK will disseminate the report in partnership with CIWM.

Commenting on the guidance, Mike Webster of WasteAid UK, said: “This will enable us to help thousands of communities around the world to improve the way they manage their waste. It will show people how to treat different materials to maximise their value and minimise risks to human health and the environment.”

Ed Cook, Senior Consultant at Resource Futures said: “The most important thing is that each proposed approach is appropriate for the community it will benefit and the type of waste being generated, and that it’s cheap to implement and maintain. We want these interventions to be self-sustaining for the recipients, enabling them to develop their own businesses and encourage others to follow suit.”

WasteAid UK will be co-hosting a community waste management conference in The Gambia in Spring 2017, in partnership with the Arkleton Trust. The event will give WasteAid UK a valuable opportunity to ‘field test’ the guidance, discussing and testing all the technologies covered with community waste managers.

More information about WasteAid UK can be found on the charity’s website.

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