Journal of Pollution

Open Access

A Successful Case in Waste Management in Developing Countries


Lorena De Medina-Salas


Although most of the developing countries have serious problems with the issue of waste management, there have been some success stories including the development of environmental public policies, which had led to better life quality. In most developing countries, waste management considers only two stages: collection and final disposal. The collection system does not include a differentiated collection of the municipal solid waste (MSW), this implies that the valorization of the different waste fractions becomes more difficult to separate and most of them are dumped on uncontrolled sites. Meanwhile, the landfilled sites are limited and usually are about to exceed their capacity. In certain rural and semi-urban localities is common the practice of burning their waste, polluting the air, soil and even water. Local authorities are making some efforts to prevent this type of pollution, but it does not always work properly. However, there are certain successful cases like Teocelo, Veracruz in Mexico. This is a semi-urban locality where the inhabitants have been contributing to waste management in different ways since the year 2000. All the people separate their waste in organic and inorganic. Only the inorganic fraction is managed to the collection system, while a part of the organic fraction is usually composted in homes and the rest is treated in a composting plant. Until now, people of the locality keep this way of living and consider that the care of the environment is important for this generation as well as the new ones

Keywords: Municipal solid waste (MSW); Developing countries; Waste management; Collection; Final disposal


Developing countries are those nations that have low living standards, undeveloped industrial base and low human development index; economically and socially trying towards betterment by economic and social maintenances and proper policy implementation and have an annual per capita income between US$875 and US$10,725 [1].

Around the world there are about 145 developing countries facing similar problems due to urbanization, economic activity and quality of life that have caused an increase in the  consumption of products and services in the population, accelerating the waste generation [2].

In 2016, the world generated 2.01 billion tons of waste, but global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tons by 2050. The Latin American and the Caribbean region generated 231 million tons of waste and the municipal solid waste (MSW); East Asia and Pacific 468 and Middle East and North Africa 129 million tons of waste. In addition, generation per capita was 0.99, 081 and 0.56 kg per inhabitant a day, respectively. The main categories of the average waste composition for the three region included: food and green 52-58 %, paper and cardboard 13-15 % and plastic 12 % [3]. Table 1 shows some examples of cities from different parts of the world including the MSW generation per capita.

In developing countries, most of the MSW generated is disposed in landfills and open-air sites causing serious risks to public health and environment. In addition, in highly populated countries such as China, India, Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil, almost 90% of the solid waste (major part is organic), considered as the principal source for producing methane is usually destined to landfills and dumps generously liberating huge quantities of carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere [4].




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