Concepts for sustainable waste management

Raw materials are becoming scarcer and energy more expensive, and all around the world, soil, air and water pollution pose a risk to sustainable development. Waste management is closely associated with both these problems: waste disposal issues are exacerbated by changing patterns of consumption, industrial development and urbanisation; this in turn means that traditional systems for solid waste disposal and recycling are no longer appropriate. This problem affects informal settlements in particular.

Waste must no longer be deposited in residential areas and uncontrolled landfills or end up on illegal rubbish tips and in waterways. It accumulates in the world’s oceans as marine litter, and is blown across continents and pulverized by the action of the wind, sun and waves. Plastic waste in particular does considerable damage to flora and fauna and finds its way into the human food chain in the form of microparticles.

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