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Literature On Solid Waste Management

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 3793 words Published: 4th May 2017

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There is not much literature available on Harar Municipal Solid Waste Management sector although such studies were conducted at Addis Ababa and Jimma. Therefore, this section borrows liberally from studies conducted elsewhere. While poor management of solid waste is a general problem in Ethiopia, it is probably conspicuous in Harar city considering its historical and regional importance.

It is a government organization that motivates the public towards SWM. Pubic and government are inseparable from the welfare point of view. The question is how do we get local municipality in Harar as an organ of the state government to be innovative in providing solid waste services? Despite the wide use of the term, innovation systems are yet to be clearly defined, characterized and evaluated in a systematic and quantifiable manner. With the selection of solid waste services in local municipality the following experience in Sri Lanka may of interest and guidance to us.

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The innovation systems theory in the 1980s in Sri Lanka invoked the notion of national innovation systems which are made up of institutions that create, store and transfer knowledge. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the creators of knowledge are not limited to those in institutions dedicated to such. Instead now it is widely accepted that knowledge is created in application as opposed to formal knowledge institutions (Gibbons et al., 1994)

Moreover, emerging importance of knowledge underpins the conceptual basis for the project. A change in the nature of the knowledge landscape was predicted by Gibbons and others as early as the 1990s in what they termed as the changing modes of knowledge production. They designated knowledge produced in formal settings such as Universities and research institutes as institution influenced knowledge and knowledge gained in work places and other settings as formal practical knowledge which will gradually supersede institutional knowledge. Although the concept is widely used in the literature, empirical work supporting it is lacking. Yet, any training that Harar municipality would offer to its employees involved in SWM would make a breakthrough in SWM system. Knowledge for innovation in solid waste services will be generated from within the practitioners, with the formal knowledge community playing a supporting role.

It is also becoming increasingly difficult to separate creation of knowledge from the sharing or the application. An emerging literature such as Bartone (1995) on Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) supports the newer notion of knowledge creation and application is not two separate things. Innovation in services is now understood to be an ongoing process where the producers of the service continually learn from customers, suppliers and recruits.

2.2 Social Assessment

2.2.1 Introduction to SA

Moreover, as this study looked into social factors assessment, the following literature reviews were felt suitable for discussion. Although the researcher applied only some the following views for this project, the SA views for SWM gains prominence in that any participatory approach needs a strong social assessment.

According to the World Bank, (2003) a social assessment refers to the “analysis that a borrower undertakes during project design to assess social feasibility of a project. It also incorporates a range of instruments that can be used not only to obtain the necessary social input and identify appropriate mechanisms for community participation in the design and implementation of these systems, but also to ensure that vulnerable social groups are not excluded from the benefits of investments and system improvements. Equally important is the need to ensure that social groups and communities are not adversely affected by relevant decisions whether they relate to factors such as changes in service fees, expansion of service boundaries, and/or inclusion/exclusion of activities of the informal sector with regard to SWM.

Further, World Bank (2003) is of the opinion that the ideal SA facilitates the process through which the Borrower better understands social organization and cultural systems, as well as institutional, historical, and political contexts in order to ensure the quality of investment design and success during implementation; provides means to enhance equality, strengthen social inclusion and cohesion, promote transparent governance and empower the poor and the vulnerable in project design and/or implementation. It further says that it constitutes a mechanism to identify the opportunities, constraints, impacts, and social risks associated with policy and project design; provides a framework for dialogue on development priorities among social groups, civil society, government and other stakeholders; and uses an approach to identify and mitigate the potential social risks, including adverse social impacts.

According to Social Assessment for Tehran City Solid Waste Management Project (2004) Community and institutional characteristics are as important as household characteristics in determining the role of stakeholders in MSWM. Often the poorest communities, such as those that are of low caste or ethnic status, and those that are new immigrants of urban peripheries, are either excluded from MSWM services or may be adversely impacted. Dump sites may be located near the most vulnerable communities, thus subjecting them to health problems. This is quite true to Harar city. Their voices may not be strong enough within the urban political structure to affect positive changes in their environmental status. The said project of Tehran further demonstrated that a thorough assessment of socio-economic, demographic and migratory characteristics of the project population was an important analytical tool that helped formulate recommendations for the improvement of the MSWS in the city. These improvements were directly derived from the findings of the SA.

2.2.2 Gender Perspectives

Gender and MSWM are closely related. Although this study does not delve deep into gender dimension with regard SWM of Harar city, it is true that SWM is “gendered “to some extent in the city. According to Scheinberg et al. (1999) many aspects of solid waste management are “gendered.” Looking at gender dimensions of MSWM also enables the planners to note the differences in the behavior, needs, and the roles played by other social groups. Women and men play different roles in the MSWM at all levels. At the household level, for example, they have different responsibilities. At workplaces dealing with waste sorting, collection, transportation, and planning, there are other key differences. Although the differences are largely culture specific, it is not common to see women among the high level managers of solid waste within municipal or formal private sector institutions Women may take responsibility for community cleanliness as long as the work is voluntary, but when it becomes paid and legitimized, it frequently, if not always goes to men. In planning improvements to the MSWM system, therefore, the implications are that there is a need to preserve women’s role in cleaning activities (UWEP 1999).

Women’s ability to contribute to environmental cleaning or even carrying their household waste to bins placed in public places may be hindered in certain cultural settings where women’s presence in public is discouraged, as is documented for Yemen’s secondary cities (Bernstein 1998). Although it may not be fully true to Harar city, elderly and middle aged women do not get involved in these activities frequently

2.2.3 Poverty and Low Income

Many studies were conducted on poverty and low income. These studies proved that they were closely related to SWM. The following are some excerpts from literature in this regard that go hand in hand with the existing social and economic condition that prevails in the study area affecting the MSWM.

Among other issues that are important in analyzing social diversity, understanding poverty dimensions is critical. Urban poverty and poor environmental conditions in most parts of the world are inextricably linked. In many cities, the poor do not have access to the formal solid waste collection service, or live in unsafe, marginal, and environmentally hazardous areas such as polluted land-sites near solid waste dumps. These conditions lead to poor environmental health which aggravates poverty and leads to impacts such as loss of income due to sickness and disease, inadequate medical treatment, and increased spending on health care which depletes household savings. Lowered incomes and aggravated poverty divest the poor of their capability either to live in safer environments or to improve the environment where they live. Hence, it is essential to improve environmental conditions that surround the urban poor in order to enhance the latter’s capability to fight poverty (Bartone, 2000).

In the context of an investment in MSWM, project planners should ensure that the poor are among the beneficiaries of service improvements. Waste pickers at dumpsites and on the streets commonly are socially marginalized. They work under conditions which are extremely hazardous to health and detrimental to family, social, and educational development and live without basic economic or social security. Often children and the elderly are involved in this type of work. Waste pickers live and work under socially precarious conditions and are subject to serious health risks. Support should aim to improve their working conditions, earnings, and access to social services. In three Turkish cities (Diyarbakir, Mardin, Urfa), large numbers of school age children walk around the city streets in small groups, sorting for a wide range of items. These are the children of families that have been displaced from their villages for security reasons. The little that they are able to earn from scavenging meets a significant percentage of the food needs of their families (Bernstein, 1999). Improving environmental conditions in cities and towns helps in reducing poverty directly as well as indirectly (Bartone, 2000).

As a direct impact, improvement in solid waste conditions can lead to better health which in turn, can help to improve productivity and increased incomes. An indirect impact of improved solid waste conditions can lead to decreased health problems and hence, savings from spending on health. The savings and better living environment per se would provide the poor with resources, time, and most importantly a ‘better quality of life’ to enrich their skills (and thereby increase their capabilities) to earn higher incomes, and fight poverty. Further, an increase in income would also enable the poor to pay for the basic environmental services they need. Many other aspects of MSWM are closely related to poverty. Poverty is closely associated with low level of garbage generation and waste collection as well as high levels of waste sorting, re-use, and recycling. Poverty is also associated with residential proximity to dump sites as well as exclusion from municipal services. Poverty influences people’s perception on SWM.

2.2. 4 Garbage Pickers and Environment

Many people both young and old make a living from the SW dumps in the outskirts of the city. This poses a great danger to the community in general and the collectors in particular. Aging is also emerging as a critical problem in MSWM (Bernstein, 1999). In many nations of Eastern Europe and most countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) population aging is rising. In some cases, over a quarter of the population are older than 60 years (Kudat and Youssef 1999). Even when they generate low volume of solid waste, elderly people face special problems. For example, they often do not have easy access to a waste collection bins or have difficulties paying for the waste collection services.

According to World Bank (2004) in some countries, the poorest segments of the elderly population (mainly abandoned single elderly) collect food from waste bins, thus facing serious health risks. In others situations (e.g., in Mongolia) there are many elderly individuals who collect recyclable items (cans and bottles) for cash. For many of them, collecting waste is the main source of income. The livelihoods of solid waste collectors at Harar city depend on the cash they generate through the collection.

There are, however, important environmentally sound lessons that can be learnt from the poor with respect to both the reduction of waste and its re-use. In poor communities of Mardin, for example, most upper income groups do not engage in any sorting whereas all lower income residents make use of plastic materials, paper, cardboard and tin cans. Among the poor, for example, paper waste is used as a fire starter for stoves, leftover bread is given to milk sellers or to bran manufacturers and plastic bags are used for carrying food or storing bread (Bernstein, 1999). Levels of economic development and household income are important determinants of the volume and composition of wastes generated by residential and other users, as well as the willingness and ability to pay for a particular level of service. Similarly, the characteristics of other waste generators (for example, artisan shops, schools, government offices, bars) determine their ability and willingness to pay for MSWM services. It is often assumed that the poor would both be unable and unwilling to pay for improved MSWM services. The evidence from the water and sanitation sector strongly points in the opposite direction (Cernea, and Kudat 1977). Indeed, the poor are often unable to have regular access to municipal services and, and must pay a disproportionately higher share of their income to pay for alternative service arrangements.

The garbage collectors indeed face huge risk both for their own health and the health of the community they live with. The following are literature reviews in this regard. Most of the information available from these secondary sources is true to the solid waste collectors of Harar.

All activities in solid waste management involve risk, either to the workers directly involved, or to the nearby residents. Risks occur at every step in the process, from the point where residents source segregate wastes into different components for collection and recycling, to the point of ultimate disposal (Cointreau 2000)

Health and safety risks from waste are caused by many factors and may include the


The nature of raw waste, its composition (that is, toxic, allergic and infectious

substances), and its components (that is, gases, dusts, leachate, sharps).

The nature of waste as it decomposes (that is., gases, dusts, leachate, particle sizes) and their change in ability to cause a toxic, allergic or infectious health response·

The handling of waste (that is, working in traffic, shoveling, lifting, equipment vibrations, accidents)

The processing of wastes (that is, odor, noise, vibration, accidents, air and water emissions, residuals, explosions, fires);

The disposal of wastes (that is, odor, noise, vibration, stability of waste piles, air and water emissions, explosions, fires).

It is not always possible to quantify health impacts associated with exposure to solid waste; poorly managed municipal solid waste can impose significant risks to the following groups:

Refuse collection workers and waste pickers (including children)

Garbage pickers who work and often live under socially precarious conditions and are subject to serious health risks, and

Municipal workers also are affected by high rates of worker illness and absenteeism

2.2.5 Solid Waste Disposal

The public at large is affected by poor MSWM practices that are responsible for drinking water mix-up with sewerage. Similarly, while the exposure of communities closer to the dump sites is higher, there are broader public risks associated with air pollution as well. SAs that clearly show the relationship of residential proximity to landfills and health problems have yet to be produced. Nonetheless, a study in Southeastern Turkey indicates that there may be a close relationship (Bernstein 1999), particularly for the poor. The residents say that there are a lot of diseases because they have to live close to the landfill. “Our children are playing with syringes and bottles. They are dirty. Our children are sick, and there is no doctor. We don’t have money. We suffer from the waste.”

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The State must solve our problem,” the residents cry. Residents of communities also add: “The wind spreads plastic bags from the landfill. Our cattle are ill because they eat these plastic bags. This is very important for us because these are not only our animals but our income and our food.” The SA carried out in Turkey also shows that the health impact of picking waste is often severe. Most pickers use their hands for sorting waste and are exposed to medical waste and hazardous objects. One of the children collecting waste in the landfill said “I cut my hands several times. We suffer from various diseases. One of my friends and I got typhoid, and these two boys got hepatitis. Other boys cut their hands with broken glass.” (Bernstein 1999).

Finally, the SA undertaken in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002) demonstrated that external

factors like civil war put additional pressure on the environment and health of the local communities by contributing to the mismanagement of existing landfills and emergence of new areas for waste disposal, including those in and around abandoned home and public buildings.

2.3 Information Dissemination

Dissemination of information plays a key factor in MSWM. Several literature such as Gunn, Susan E., and Zenaida Ostos (1992); Bartone, C.L, & Bernstein, J.D, (1993); Olley, J and, Olbina R. (1999); Medina, Martin (2000); World Bank. 1982 recommends that taking the MSWM policies and issues to the public in the following manner plays a key role in solving several key problems in MSWM.

Every good public involvement program includes a good public information campaign. In particular, the public needs to know why a solid waste facility is needed and what the consequences will be if no facility is on place. People need information about the alternatives to choose between them, and they need to know the facts about a proposed decision to decide whether they support it. Some techniques for communicating to the public are:


Briefings keep key elected officials or agencies informed of the progress with regard to MSWM. Briefings consist of a personal visit or even a phone call to inform people before an action is taken. Briefings often lead to two-way communication, because you may receive valuable information in response to your announcement. Briefing elected officials or agencies is particularly important if your actions might result in political controversy that may affect them. This was possible but not widely practiced in the study area.

Feature Stories:

A feature story is a full-blown news story, written by a reporter, not just an announcement based on a news release. Sending a news release to a newspaper is one way to get the media interested in your story. But often you are more likely to get someone interested if you make a personal contact with an editor or reporter who has an interest in the issue. As the study area is inhabited by basically literate people to University graduates besides some illiterate population, this could spread information on MSWM in the city. Yet, this is not practiced in the study area except for occasional publications.

Mailing out Key Technical Reports or Environmental Documents:

Simply making technical reports available at libraries or other public places has not proven effective for getting the level of knowledge about these documents that you need for credibility. Instead, send key documents can be mailed directly to leaders of the organized groups and interests, including business, environmental, or neighborhood associations. Although mailing documents is impractical to individuals and organizations, keeping them in public libraries could be done. However, the public libraries in the study area did not contain such documents.

Paid Advertisements:

Paid advertisements are one way to make an announcement or present information to the public in newspapers or on radio or television. One major consideration in paid advertising is public reaction against the spending of public funds. Occasionally, people criticize large advertisements, even if they are providing information. Paid advertisements are useful when announcing public meetings. However, this is not the case in the study area.

Information on the Mass Media:

This is very effective as many people could afford to own a radio and have the opportunity to watch television programs in public places and community information centers. Any program explaining the MSWM and the problems that it faces in the nation can easily be telecasted and broadcasted using experienced television and radio artists and showing live on television the sanitation degradation due to problems in MSWM. Although, the study area has a huge television screen for public at the center of the city and many people in the city own radio and have access to watch television programs, due to the absence of regular programs on SWM on mass media, information on MSWM could not reach the public at large.

Willingness to Pay

Another important aspect of MSWM is the WTP (Willingness To Pay) of the beneficiaries. This idea has been discussed at length in several literature related to SWM. The following points are the most important ones found in this regard.

Household Income ( as discussed in Chapter One)

The belief of households that it is the government and not the citizens are responsible for SWM ( this is also discussed in Chapter One)

The degree of realization of the importance of proper SWM towards healthy living

The Importance of PPP (Public -Private Partnership) in SWM

Stringent law with regard to SWS

Thus, WTP by the beneficiaries was considered for this project with regard to SWM in Harar city.


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