Establishing a roadmap for closing an open dumpsite for healthy communities and SLCP reduction

Infographic on the dangers of open dumps
Ongoing
started:
2019

The inadequate removal and treatment of waste poses multiple threats to human health and the environment. Landfills are the third largest source of anthropogenic methane, a powerful greenhouse gas twenty-eight times more potent than carbon dioxide (over a 100 years) at warming the atmosphere. More than half of the 50 biggest dumpsites in the world directly threaten marine and coastal areas and are sources of waste reaching the oceans. The burning of municipal solid waste, including waste in landfills, is a significant source of black carbon, and contributes to local air pollution and climate change. For many cities, the growing waste burden is becoming increasingly difficult to manage and is leading to negative human health and environmental impacts.

Objectives

Our Waste Initiative is working with international and local partners to deliver alternatives to existing waste management practices in the Middle East region. The activities from this project will set the foundation of a larger project to demonstrate steps required to successfully transition from uncontrolled dumping of waste to a managed sanitary landfill or other advanced sustainable waste management options.

What we're doing

  • Activities include:
  • Site selection and assessment
  • Emissions quantification using the SWEET tool
  • Communication and dissemination strategy
  • Capacity-building and training workshop

Why we're doing this work

Thirty-eight of the world’s fifty biggest dumpsites directly impact marine and coastal areas. These dumpsites receive 40% of the world’s waste. Closing these dumps could benefit 64 million people including communities of waste pickers working and living on these uncontrolled dumpsites. Closing them would also prevent 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions annually – a climate benefits akin to removing 5 million cars from roads each year.

In addition to these very large dumpsites there are innumerable open dumpsites in cities and townships with similar negative impacts for the environment and the health of nearby communities. Closing an open dumpsite requires alternative waste management systems specific to the local context and requires adequate planning, improved institutional and administrative capacity, financial resources, social support and political consensus.

Tackling air pollution and climate change to save lives and protect the environment is the foundation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Bonn communiqué. This strategic project aims to help achieve those time sensitive commitments and help cities/municipalities move towards sustainable waste management practices in their regions.

Activity contact

Sandra Mazo-Nix ,
Municipal Solid Waste Initiative Coordinator
Sandra.Mazo-Nix [at] un.org

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