A new ISWA report provides the guidelines in order to help authorities close some of the most dangerous dumpsites in the world
A recently published report from the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) reveals that from December 2015 to June 2016, there have been more than 750 deaths globally related to poor dumpsite waste management and associated health impacts. The report, titled ‘A Roadmap for Closing Waste Dumpsites, The World’s most Polluted Places’, aims to support local and regional authorities in creating roadmaps for closing their dumpsites and developing alternative waste management systems, providing the key-elements for the required change. It also includes suggestions and tips for managing the social, governance, financial and technical challenges. Over the next years, ISWA plans to invest significant energy into helping close some of the most dangerous waste facilities on the planet.
Even though open dumps have not been permitted in developed countries for more than 30 years due to environmental and public health reasons, they continue to receive approximately 40% of the world's waste and serve three to four billion people in developing countries. However, the dangers of these dumpsites are very real and affect significant numbers of people with severe implications for their health and safety. According to the report, fifty of the world’s biggest dumpsites affect the daily lives of 64 million people -the equivalent of the population of France, and together hold up to 815 million cubic meters of waste, more than 320 times the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza. These sites are spread across South and Central America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central and South East Asia, as presented in the Waste Atlas report in 2013.
The association recorded more than 750 deaths that had been caused by inadequate waste management between December 2015 and June 2016, and found that exposure to open dumpsites in South-East Asia has a greater detrimental impact on the population’s life expectancy than malaria. In addition to the human cost, ISWA’s Wasted Health report published in 2015 estimated that the financial cost of open dumpsites amounts to tens of billions of US dollars per year.
Presenting the report, Antonis Mavropoulos, ISWA President and co-author of the roadmap, stated: ‘Dumpsites are becoming a global health emergency. We are well aware that closing down a dumpsite is neither a simple nor an easy task. It requires an alternative waste management system, with adequate planning, institutional and administrative capacity, financial resources, social support and finally political consensus. All of these conditions are really difficult and sometimes impossible to meet in countries where dumpsites are the dominant method of waste disposal and level of governance quality is questionable. This is why ISWA calls for the creation of an international alliance that will drive the dumpsites closure in the poorest countries of the world. We think this is the minimum response to an ongoing health emergency.'
Source: Wasteless Future
Image credit: ISWA