Working Group III: Mitigation

Other reports in this collection Programmes and Policies to Remove Barriers

To overcome the barriers and to exploit the opportunities in waste management, it is necessary to have a multi-pronged approach which includes the following components:

  • Building up of database on availability of wastes, their characteristics, distribution, accessibility, current practices of utilization and/or disposal technologies and their economic viability;
  • An institutional mechanism for technology transfer though a co-ordinated programme involving the R&D institutions, financing agencies, and industry (Schwarz, 1997); and
  • Defining the role of stakeholders including local authorities, individual house holders, NGOs, industries, R&D institutions, and the government.

The efforts of local authorities in waste management could focus on: the separation and reclamation of wastes through seperate collection of reusable wastes for recovery; provision of reclamation centres where the public can deliver wastes; arrangements for separation and reclamation at disposal sites and transfer stations (de Uribarri, 1998); arrangements for waste disposal with by-product recovery; and landfilling of residuals. Local authorities may enlist the support of the public and individual householders as well as NGOs to store recoverable wastes separately or deliver these to the reclamation centres. Local authorities can also consult the industry on how wastes could be best ultilized to meet their raw material requirement. Industry can be encouraged to accept wastes as secondary raw materials (NWMC, 1990).

R&D institutions could play an important role in waste utilization by development and dissemination of viable technological alternatives including pilot scale demonstration, organizing technology transfer workshops, and dissemination of information to industries. Land use and industrial estate planners can internalize waste utilization and/or minimization concerns in the process of siting industrial plants (Datta, 1999). The possibilities of siting industrial activities in such a way that wastes from one unit could be used as raw material for another could be explored. The arrangement might reduce capital outlay and operating costs, and also facilitate transfer and processing of products and/or raw materials.

Governments may introduce fiscal and regulatory measures for reduction of wastes and promotion of waste utilization. These may include incentives to producers and users to accept reduced packaging, incentives to consumers to return reclaimable wastes, incentives to local authorities to support reclamation and/or waste utilization activities, incentives to industries using recovered materials, financial support to R&D activities, awards to individuals and/or organizations for waste utilization, and penalties for not adopting waste minimization and/or utilization practices.

Programmes for providing training and education on waste minimization and utilization with an interdisciplinary approach could be developed. Waste utilization as a profession has no fixed boundaries. Skills of psychology, economics, material sciences, process design, and ecology are but some of the many requirements for the trained professional.

Even the best planned, designed, and executed waste utilization programme would fail without the effective participation of the public. Education of the public on waste utilization issues, therefore, would play a vital role in ensuring the success of the programme. A public education programme would be aided by the identification of appropriate communication systems (AIT, 1997; ESCAP, 1997; Bhide, 1998).

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