The programme “Pro poor and sustainable solid waste management” is helping cities in the Asia-Pacific region to effectively manage their waste in an environmentally sustainable and economically viable manner.
In 2009, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Waste Concern and local partners embarked on a regional programme in secondary cities and small towns of Asia-Pacific to effectively manage solid waste and transform waste products into valuable resources, improve waste collection services and provide better income and working conditions for waste pickers.
60 – 70 per cent of waste in developing countries of Asia-Pacific is organic in nature and can be transformed into organic fertilizer that can enrich the soil. Composting from municipal solid waste contributes to two Millennium Development Goals of environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation. In addition to enriching the soil, composting averts green house gas emissions by avoiding organic waste decomposition in the dumpsite. Composting contributes to poverty alleviation as it offers an activity that the waste pickers and urban poor can engage with.
UN ESCAP has been rigorouusly promoting the waste to resource approach for a variety of reasons. End of pipe approaches of collection and disposal are capital and technology intensive and hence expensive to build and operate in secondary cities and small towns of Asia Pacific. Local governments are confronted with increasing costs for disposal, while public health and the environment suffer from the damaging effects of untreated solid waste. Apart from the negative environmental externalities resulting from open dumping, local governments are finding it increasingly difficult to find additional landfill space.
Under the regional programme of UN ESCAP, projects are implemented in several cities in the Asia Pacific region, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia.
If you are interested in starting a project in your city, or to learn more about the approach please contact ESCAP’s sustainable urban development section.
fax: (662) 288 1048
The Cambodian Education and Waste Management Organization (COMPED) works in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and local governments to promote recycling and composting among low-income communities in Cambodia. COMPED works closely with waste pickers and their families, arranging social support and training programmes to improve their working conditions. COMPED also explores innovative ways to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development, such as promoting the use of renewable energies and the 3R concept (reduce, reuse, recycle) and educating communities on proper hygiene and sanitation practices.
Director: Chau Kim Heng
The Community Sanitation and Recycling Organization (CSARO) is a Cambodian community development organization that has specialized in solid waste management initiatives among low-income urban communities since its founding in 1997. The CSARO mission is to improve the environmental and living conditions in slums in Cambodia by improving the working conditions of the many thousands of community members who make a living from waste picking. CSARO has established a Mobile Outreach Programme (educating young waste pickers on safe health and hygiene practices), an Urban Community Development Programme (capacity building for policymakers and community members) and a Solid Waste Management Program (educating workers in the waste industry on composting and recycling) in numerous urban communities across Cambodia.
Director: Heng Yon Kora
The Environment and Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) in Viet Nam is one of 14 branches worldwide (with headquarters established in Dakar, Senegal in 1972). The NGO was initially a joint initiative of the United Nations Environmental Program, the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning and the Swedish International Development Agency. ENDA Viet Nam promotes poverty reduction in low-income and disadvantaged communities through a Community Development Fund, by installing community-based solid waste management systems and by working for better housing and infrastructure in low-income urban settlements. In recent years, ENDA Viet Nam has contributed to studies and projects aimed at improving the quality of life for waste pickers and recyclers in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Sevanatha Urban Resource Center is an expansive local NGO in Sri Lanka that specializes in improving the living environment of urban low-income communities through community-based resource management programmes and by helping communities build better infrastructure and housing. The work of Sevanatha has a strong focus on environmental management and on integrating participatory elements into projects to live up to its overall vision of empowering urban communities and alleviating poverty. Sevanatha introduced the concept of composting and the 3Rs through several solid waste management projects in Colombo, Kotte, Dehiwala–Mount Lavinia, Negombo, Matale, Nuwara Eliya and Kalmunai. The organization pioneered the introduction of home compost bins in 1997 and has relayed this experience to various NGO partners in the Asia region.
Director: K. A. Jayaratne
Waste Concern was founded in 1995 on a vision of turning waste products into valuable resources. The Bangladesh NGO focuses on such environmental aspects of sustainable development as waste management, recycling and the use of renewable energies and provides research support and consultation services for projects relevant to its mission. Waste Concern pioneered the concept of an integrated resource recovery centre (IRRC) – a simple but inventive initiative that uses the large availability of organic waste in developing communities to produce high-quality, marketable organic compost while mitigating the harmful effects that poor waste management practices can have on the environment. The benefits of this concept have inspired the replication of the IRRC model in several countries across the Asia–Pacific region. Waste Concern also integrates the 3R concept in many of its training and education initiatives and works with government agencies, international partners and NGOs to improve skills capacity among individuals that can work towards alleviating poverty in disadvantaged urban communities.
Director: A. H. Md. Maqsood Sinha and Iftekhar Enayetullah