Integrating management of waste means covering 100% of the population and waste generating sources with (1) regular waste collection services; (2) a suitable system for selective identification, aggregation and channelling of different waste streams; (3) maintaining flows of recyclable materials to recycling industries; and (4) disposal of waste not suitable for recycling in sanitary landfills or other appropriate sites.
Many human activities produce growing quantities of increasingly noxious waste. This waste is returned to the environment in a degraded form, potentially threatening environmental and health conditions.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends the development of appropriate solid waste disposal technology on the basis of health risk assessment.
The Environmental Programme for Europe recommends: (1) developing information systems on the sources, definitions and categories of waste, and on the composition and management of waste streams in order to promote waste prevention and set up and implement waste prevention and minimization and waste recovery and recycling schemes; (2) further developing the concept of producer responsibility as a means to bridge the gap between the production of goods and the management of consumption wastes, inter alia, with regard to waste minimization; and (3) ensuring the development and the adoption of national waste management plans aimed at: (a) decreasing the consumption of raw materials and natural resources including energy in order to reduce, in particular, the quantity of wastes at the end of the production chain; (b) intensifying and promoting recovery, re-use and recycling of waste and promoting, in particular, material recycling, composting and energy recovery; (c) adopting the principle of proximity of the waste treatment and applying the principles of waste stream management; and (d) ensuring the safe and environmentally sound management of waste the generation of which cannot be avoided.
Ashgabat in Turkmenistan offers a good example of practical, local project implementation related to solid waste management. A review of the environment and health (EH) situation in the city, involving the local sanitary and epidemiological surveillance station, identified uncollected solid waste accumulating in residential areas as one issue for priority attention. The waste was a breeding ground for vectors and a source of food for wild animals. The approach taken in the EH project was threefold. First, national and international assistance was provided to make more waste collection vehicles available and to improve the reliability of the collection service. Second, the local community in a large pilot district was encouraged to voice its opinions on the relocation and siting of communal waste storage points, and a public information campaign was launched to reduce indiscriminate waste dumping. Third, the local municipal authority adopted a pioneering approach to making its street sweeping staff individually responsible for the twice-daily cleaning of one or more waste storage points. Their system of payment was also adjusted to reinforce this individual responsibility.