Chapter

Solid Wastes, Poverty, and the Environment in Developing Country Cities: Challenges and Opportunities

Martin Medina

in Urbanization and Development

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590148
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595493 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590148.003.0015

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

Solid Wastes, Poverty, and the Environment in Developing Country Cities: Challenges and Opportunities

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Developing country cities face serious problems managing their wastes. Waste collection is insufficient and disposal inappropriate. Despite spending increasing resources, many cities collect a fraction of the waste generated. Most wastes are disposed of in open dumps, deposited on vacant land, or burned by residents in their backyards. These practices generate significant pollution problems and risks to human health and the environment. Over one billion people living in slums lack appropriate waste management. Given the rapid population growth and urbanization in many cities, the management of wastes tends to further deteriorate. This chapter examines the challenges and opportunities for improving the management of waste in developing countries. It is argued that, despite a worsening trend, there are opportunities for reducing pollution, alleviating poverty, improving the urban environment, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions by implementing low-cost, low-tech, labour-intensive methods that promote community participation and involve the informal recycling sector.

Keywords: cities; environment; urbanization; waste; JEL classification; R51; Q53

Chapter.  6681 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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