Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) In Developing Countries
Proper management of municipal solid waste is critical to the health and well-being of urban residents (World Bank 2003). Municipal solid waste (MSW) management is a major problem in most developing countries. In developing countries, several tons of municipal solid waste is left uncollected on the streets each day, clogging drains, creating feeding ground for pests that spread disease, causing water pollution, land contamination, environmental degradation and creating a myriad of related health and infrastructural problems. The primary target of MSWM is to protect the health of the population, promote environmental quality, develop sustainability, and provide support to economic productivity. Although in developing countries the quantity of solid waste generated in urban areas is low compared to industrialized countries, the MSWM still remains inadequate.
Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) problems in developing countries have become more pronounced in recent years, as a result of inadequate collection and disposal of wastes. In most cities, wastes are not properly collected and where proper collection is ensured, only a small fraction receives proper disposals (Ayininuola and Muibi 2008). As such, the need to develop alternative methods of managing municipal solid wastes (MSW) such as composting, separation, and recycling have been used adeptly to meet these growing concerns (Haque et al., 2000; Kanat et al., 2006; Nunan, 2000). Despite such alternative methods, however; situations within countries vary due to different parameters which may cause certain effects on such activities; thereby causing more difficulties or complexities which may expand the extent to which these concerns are to be addressed.
Factors Affecting Proper Municipal Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries
Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is an ‘important entry point for integrated urban management support (Schubeler 1996)’. More specifically, it refers to that part of the waste stream that is collected by, or on behalf of, local authorities. Factors affecting proper municipal solid waste management processes or stages include:
- Accelerated growth of urban population with unplanned urbanization.
- Increasing economic activities and lack of training in modern solid waste management practices in developing countries complicates the efforts to improve solid waste services.
- The changes in consumption patterns with alterations in the waste characteristics have also resulted in a quantum jump in solid waste generation.
- Recent studies has shown that a substantial part of the urban residents in the old city and suburban informal settlements of developing countries have little or no access to solid waste collection services. This is due to lack of proper land use planning which resulted in the creation of informal settlements with narrow streets that make it difficult for collection trucks to reach many areas. The result is that a large portion of the population is left without access to solid waste management making them particularly vulnerable.
- In addition, solid waste management is hampered by a lack of data at all levels from the ward, district and municipality, and where available, is generally unreliable, scattered and unorganized. As a result, planning of solid waste management has remained a difficult task.