Launched on 8th October 2019 at the ISWA World Congress, Bilbao, Spain, this new report from ISWA’s Task Forces uses a series of case studies to highlight the impact that open waste dumping has on the planet.
10 Oct 2019 -Hundreds of millions of people worldwide depend on dumpsites as the only way to dispose of their waste, especially in low-and middle-income countries.
According to the report, dumpsites are the third largest source of global anthropogenic methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2. Dumpsites damage the environment and the health of those hundreds of millions living on or around them.
Thus, ISWA’s Task Force took the essential step of quantifying the actual climate benefits to dumpsite closure by analysing three successful closures from around the world: Estrutural in Brasilia, Brazil, Rautenweg in Vienna, Austria, and Hiriya in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The results deliver a strong message – the cost of inaction is simply unaffordable. Compared to a “No Action” scenario, these three cities alone have already saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. By 2050, the collective savings of these three cities will amount to 4,250,000 tCO2 -e. That is just three cities. The study goes on to consider the various lessons learned from closing a dumpsite, and the determining factors when it comes to making the closure.
The study concludes with four strong messages:
1.Closing a dumpsite is possible in a short period of time
2.Closing a dumpsite requires multi-stakeholder engagement
3.Closing a dumpsite is feasible
4.Closing dumpsites must happen, beginning immediately
These case studies offer clear proof that closing dumpsites and replacing them with sustainable and integrated waste management systems, whilst difficult, is feasible and necessary. It requires financial investment, political will, public support, cooperation between the public and private sectors, and most importantly, it requires good long-term planning.