Across developing countries, the growing number of challenges in dealing with waste management issues has become a growing hurdle for communities, experts, environmentalists, regional authorities and national governments at large. In cities, especially in parts of Africa and the Asian sub-continent, the increase in the amount of solid waste generated in each house has rapidly increased but the requisite disposable services and garbage collection has not matched up to the increase. In such a condition an effective way to manage waste management and a workable strategy to deal with the issue is still a far cry.
The situation has been further complicated by increasing urbanisation, which has left the available resources and facilities offered by local authorities in the cities scrambling to meet the demand. In order to meet with the rapid urbanisation, the available waste management equipment and refuse collection resources at hand are not sufficient enough to meet the requirements of the city.
In addition, the disposal of solid wastes in specific regions has put the health of citizens at great danger as these open air comes have become primary breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rats, houseflies and other transmitters of contagious diseases. In addition, the chemicals and toxins from these dumps further pollute underground water thus causing water shortages and waterborne diseases. Furthermore, plastics and air-borne toxins released in these dumps are known to cause respiratory ailments among people living around these areas.
These and a number of additional challenges in urban waste management are continuing unabated in spite of the presence of policies and legislations to deal with waste management issues.
However at the end of the day, in spite of the initiatives from local and governmental bodies, communities themselves need to be drivers of change in order to deal with the growing issue of waste disposals.
Some ways of dealing with the problem is to initiate an intervention strategy that borders on the potency of the partnerships formed between communities and local bodies and the role of each individual within the community, in such a strategy. Communities can help in informing local authorities of the situation on the ground with regards to the current waste management practices and help in establishing the quantities and kinds of waste that are being generated by households at large. They can also help in analysing and looking into the health dimensions of waste management while identifying existing gaps in the current legislatives and policy environment of waste management.
Furthermore, these communities can also help in assessing the kinds of technologies available in the developed world with regards to successful and already practiced waste management methods in certain model cities. The mobilisation of communities with the help of local and government authorities can help in creating leadership structures within communities, where in identified people can form groups and act as encouraging motivators within specific areas.
Although there will be constraints and challenges to implement such community-based initiatives, the outcome of introducing and carrying out such initiatives will be for all to see. The significant improvement of health and hygiene conditions of people living in participatory communities can further boost the spread of such an initiative among other communities, thus spreading the message of community-based initiatives to successfully deal with waste disposable issues.