Workshop on Waste Management in Small Island Developing States
Wang Yueqi   May 04.2016

Introduction

Developing StatesI. Introduction1. The present
report reviews the general status of waste management in small island
developing States, including progress made in achieving the objectives set out
in the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island
Developing States, as well as impediments to sustainable waste management, and
identifies future priority actions at the national, regional and global levels
in the field of waste management.

Reason to Be Selected

II. Current situation2. The environmental problems of small island developing States are closely related to
issues that pertain to the sustainable use of natural resources and the environmentally
sound management of wastes. The unique social, economic and environmental
characteristics of small island developing States, such as high population
density, limited availability of land space and the lack of human and financial
resources, reduce the choice of appropriate options for sound management of
waste. Furthermore, tourists produce large amounts of wastes, especially during
the peak tourism period, compounding the difficulty of small island developing
States' authorities to manage waste with their limited capacities. The Global
Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
stressed the urgent need to develop local strategies and capabilities for the
implementation of sustainable waste management within the context of
sustainable development. So far, however, there have been few attempts to
develop an integrated and comprehensive approach to waste management
strategies.

Highlights:

A. Solid waste management
3. In many cities
of small island developing States, the lack of adequate treatment of solid
wastes, including industrial wastes, remains one of the major problems to be
solved. Waste separation and recycling is still in its early stages in many
small island developing States, though some attempts have been made to reduce
the amounts of wastes generated. Programmes have not often been implemented due
to the lack of capabilities for technical analysis/assessment, planning,
financing and public support. In the field of waste separation at source, upon
which the promotion of recycling should largely depend, there have been a few
systematic activities in small island developing States, related to the
recycling of cans or separation of organic material for composting. Recycling
is an effective process but in the urban areas of many small island developing
States, it is not economically viable.

Details

4. Wastes are
disposed of in various ways, such as in landfills or by means of composting,
incineration, open burning or indiscriminate dumping on open land or in rivers
and coastal waters. There are very few sanitary landfills in small island
developing States. Poorly managed landfill sites -- particularly open dumping
sites, which are still common -- seriously threaten environmental safety and
increase health hazards. In addition, open dumping and illegal landfills are a
common urban eyesore and reduce property values. Solid materials, surface
run-off and leachate from wastes can have devastating effects on freshwater and
marine ecosystems.
5. Incineration is
generally used for the destruction of medical wastes, unused chemicals and
other combustible hazardous materials. In many instances, such wastes are
burned in semi-open areas, without proper facilities for removing the
pollutants and treating the ashes and unburnt materials. In some small island
developing States where available land is extremely scarce, incineration may be
the only available treatment option. Other options, however, should be
carefully evaluated before embarking on incineration, considering the pollution
that it causes and the large capital investments and operational costs that it
entails. Composting, a traditional practice in small island developing States,
is widely used but it is less practical in urban areas. Composting is not only
a useful mechanism for reducing the amount of disposed organic waste but it
also produces a valuable substitute for artificial fertilizers.
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B. Industrial and
hazardous wastes

6. The primary
problem in handling industrial and hazardous wastes is that in most cases,
there are no proper facilities for their storage and disposal in small island
developing States. A large proportion of industrial and hazardous wastes is
often disposed of in the municipal solid waste stream or even dumped without
any control, although this may be prohibited by law. Leakages are quite common.

7. The sources of
industrial wastes in small island developing States are mainly fish processing,
manufacturing processes, mining, quarrying and agro-industry, such as sugar and
rum production. In a number of small island developing States, oil refining and
petrochemical production also generate industrial wastes. Industries are often
situated in areas close to coasts or water bodies, and solid and liquid wastes
are directly discharged into them normally with very little if any
pretreatment. Probably due to the lack of technological capabilities,
end-of-pipe solutions rather than reduction of waste generation are seen as the
major option to control pollution resulting from wastes. Major components of
hazardous wastes generated in small island developing States are chemicals,
including agrochemicals, heavy metals and medical wastes. These are usually
incinerated with insufficient emission control equipments, buried at source, or
more often disposed of in dump sites without proper control systems. Many small
island developing States have still not ratified the Basel Convention on the
Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

C. Wastewater

8. Liquid wastes
are major pollutants of freshwater systems -- enclosed coastal waters, aquifers
and groundwater. Poor or non-existent piped sewerage systems in many rural and
urban areas make sewage treatment difficult in small island developing States.
Only a fraction of industrial and municipal wastewater is treated before being
discharged into the surrounding land and water resources. Since many of the
existing systems are operated in an unsanitary manner without proper
monitoring, they threaten human health, either directly through the
contamination of water supplies or indirectly through the contamination of food
and fodder. Effective management strategies for wastewater treatment, including
reuse, are lacking in most small island developing States, and when in place
they are poorly implemented. Moreover, a lack of technical capabilities to
operate and maintain the existing facilities for sewage treatment make it
difficult to control wastewater. In small urban and rural areas, such
alternatives as composting sewage and the enhanced use of septic tanks have
been developed. The septic tank has been an effective treatment method for
wastewater in areas occupied by a limited population. A number of problems,
however, have been identified, such as limited control over design, lack of
sludge removal and poor facilities to dispose of sludge.


D. Ship-generated
or transported waste

9. Solid and
liquid wastes generated by ships and cruise vessels and the resulting pollution
are of considerable concern to small island developing States. There is almost
an entire lack of port reception facilities for accepting ship-borne wastes or
for avoiding oil spills in ports. A few international and regional initiatives
have been taken to protect ports from such wastes, but much remains to be done
for the protection of the marine environment.

E. Status of
related strategies, including legislation and financing

10. Because of the
lack of legal and regulatory frameworks for waste management, small island
developing States often rely on non-specific legislation, such as public health
acts. Enforcement, moreover, is poor because of the limited number of trained
officers, cultural and social difficulties, and insufficient institutional
arrangements. Waste management departments are generally low-priority
establishments within local governments. Strategic planning on waste management
has been carried out in many small island developing States for various
sectors. However, implementation remains generally inadequate. Efforts at public
awareness-raising have been made in almost all small island developing States
through formal or informal systems. Their impact, particularly on younger
people, has been positive and should facilitate further implementation of
scientific waste management in the future.

11. Suitable
financial planning for the complete cycle of waste management has not been well
developed in most small island developing States, resulting in severely
underfunded operations, shortage of proper facilities and trained operators. One
of the most disturbing problems is the lack of financial autonomy. Where waste
management departments are self-financing, the revenue generated is often used
for other purposes. Tools for mobilizing financial resources, such as
government budgetary allocations, charge systems and other relevant economic
instruments, have yet to be developed and included as core elements of
financial strategies. Information on waste management and related technologies
suitable for small island developing States are still difficult to access,
although numerous reports on various aspects of waste management have been
published.

 

 

 

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