Portraits: Waste Management

A municipal worker poses for a photo in Matale. Economic growth across developing Asian countries has led to a sharp increase in consumption. With higher levels of waste being generated, local governments struggle to cope with solid waste management. As cities across Asia have strained to deal with this burden, an informal sector of waste management and recycling has emerged, providing opportunities for millions of urban poor. This informal sector is largely unregulated, leaving workers vulnerable to hazardous working conditions and irregular incomes. If integrated into the formal system, this sector could be part of a viable solution to the waste problem.60 to 70 percent of waste in developing Asian countries is organic and if managed properly, could be put back into the economy in the form of compost. Matale, Sri Lanka is a prime example of the economics of successfully managing waste. Successful composting and recycling programs in Matale demonstrate the waste sector’s potential to create opportunities for local entrepreneurs and jobs for the urban poor while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste Management

A municipal worker poses for a photo in Matale. Economic growth across developing Asian countries has led to a sharp increase in consumption. With higher levels of waste being generated, local governments struggle to cope with solid waste management. As cities across Asia have strained to deal with this burden, an informal sector of waste management and recycling has emerged, providing opportunities for millions of urban poor. This informal sector is largely unregulated, leaving workers vulnerable to hazardous working conditions and irregular incomes. If integrated into the formal system, this sector could be part of a viable solution to the waste problem.60 to 70 percent of waste in developing Asian countries is organic and if managed properly, could be put back into the economy in the form of compost. Matale, Sri Lanka is a prime example of the economics of successfully managing waste. Successful composting and recycling programs in Matale demonstrate the waste sector’s potential to create opportunities for local entrepreneurs and jobs for the urban poor while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.