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Published on 04/10/2017

Waste management: a rapidly growing sector

In the space of just a few years, issues related to waste management have become central in debates, and today have become a key area of development. GRET supports this dynamic by monitoring recent evolutions in the sector and developing new ways of working, which are presented here in a non-exhaustive panorama of recently launched projects and activities.

In recent years, the volume of GRET activities in the area of solid waste management increased significantly. Its teams expanded accordingly, and today comprise of approximately thirty expatriate and national staff. The issues have evolved considerably, especially due to the emergence of new subjects that are more or less directly related to solid waste. Among those that are at the heart of our discussions: the logic behind GRET’s work (particularly reflection on sorting waste at source in markets, for example, and on reducing waste at source); choice of technical and financial procedures; sustainability of models and the issues of waste processing, especially for waste recovery.

In most fields where GRET works, substandard sanitary conditions are always visible and detrimental for the environment and the health of inhabitants. A massive increase in the production waste, difficulties experienced by authorities to manage waste and inherent obstacles to a service closely related to political circles, costly and rarely considered essential are common in numerous areas, especially in secondary cities. The latter are in fact generating renewed interest. GRET’s new fields of intervention are proof of this: Cap-Haïtien in Haiti and Magway in Myanmar in 2017, Moundou in Chad in 2018.

Two new projects in 2017

The first of these, the GidoKap project – launched in April 2017 in Cap-Haïtien – is working on the challenge of inter-municipality. For the last twenty years, waste management has been a central preoccupation of decentralised cooperation in this municipality, the second largest city in Haiti in terms of population. From 2017 to 2019, GRET’s role will be to assist communes to implement a pilot waste management project in Cap-Haïtien, in Quartier Morin and Limonade, and to strengthen the inter-municipality created by these municipalities with the Inter-municipal household waste management association (Aitom). The pilot project will be rolled out in Petite Anse, a communal district with over 20,000 inhabitants where support to project management aims to implement pre-collection mechanisms for households, and sorting and collection mechanisms for markets. The support provided is also aimed at demonstrating that inhabitants are able to pay for this service, while reflecting on possibilities for including informal stakeholders in the system implemented. The GidoKap mission is related to the landfill site construction project in the commune of Limonade, where waste from the North of the country will be deposited – a pre-condition before starting collection as no controlled outlet exists for the region. The expertise provided via support to project management will concern several aspects: structuring of a value chain that is currently uncontrolled, management of waste, social engineering, strengthening capacities of and providing support to local authorities over the long term.

The second project, Rosamur, will begin in Myanmar in October 2017 for a three-year period. It is part of a programme initiated at the end of 2015 that aims to improve the quality of services in cities in Myanmar, via the implementation of a stakeholder network, training, workshops to exchange experiences and pilot investments in the drinking water, sanitation and waste management sectors. This is the context in which Magway was retained for the implementation of a project aiming to improve collection of household waste in a central area, to support optimisation of waste collection circuits at city level and to construct a composting unit for waste generated by markets. Training sessions for municipal service operators and awareness-raising campaigns will also be organised to optimise the impact of investments and improve the performance of services in this city of 75,000 inhabitants.

Implementing integrated services

Other projects recently implemented by GRET deal with relatively new subject areas. This is the case for example with the GICOD project, implemented in 2015 in the Republic of Congo. On 15 June 2017, a waste collection service developed as part of this project was officially launched, in the presence of the European Union’s ambassador in Congo and the main authorities of the city of Dolisie. Validated by the municipal executive on a proposal by GRET, this service features a hybrid model with, on the one hand, a door-to-door service with a waste-collection truck that will circulate on tarmac roads to cater for the main producers of waste (markets, hotels, shops, administrations, etc.) and evacuate waste from public spaces (gutters, squares, etc.); and on the other hand, a door-to-door service by a pre-collection operator (PCO)  in 20 neighbourhoods that will deposit their waste in four household waste transit areas from which it will be evacuated by municipal trucks to the city’s final landfill site. The pilot will be extended to 16 other neighbourhoods at the end of 2018, with the slogan: “Dolisie Zero waste!”.

Again in the Republic of Congo, via the Filipa project, GRET is coordinating training on savings for pre-collection operators in Brazzaville. Apart from contributing to better recognition of their profession, this training enables them to better manage their activity. In order to put the knowledge acquired into practice, an equipment fund to which the PCOs financially contribute was launched. It aims to subsidise personal protective equipment, vaccines and transport systems. The closing date for submission of applications for the first round of equipment funding closed on 20 July 2017; the municipalities validated applications from 22 PCOs out of a total of 23 applications received.

In Vietnam, the focus is on recovery of waste. The PRO 3 project, launched in 2016, made it possible to reopen the household waste composting unit in Thanh Lang, a city of 15,000 inhabitants in Vinh Phuc province. Built in 2010, with a treatment capacity of 24 tons gross per month for an estimated production of 3 tons of compost per month, this platform had stopped operating several years ago. The PRO 3 project, launched in 2016, consists of renovating the building, modifying silos, supporting the environment cooperative for its minimum operation during the first year, and subsequently defining a gradual withdrawal strategy. The objective of this pilot, via the recovery of fermentable fraction of household waste (60 % of the total weight) is to present this technology to local authorities as a solution to significantly reduce the volume of landfill waste, and thereby minimise saturation of landfill sites and their negative impacts on the environment.

The implementation of integrated services requires reflecting on all the links in the value chain, systematically proposing solutions that are suited to the local context. This is the approach taken by GRET’s teams, who are always aiming to provide the best services to communities.

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