Guest Blog: Landfills in the spotlight at #ISWA2023 and COP28

Dec 14, 2023 | Landfill

Aditi Ramola

Aditi Ramola

Technical Director, ISWA

The ISWA Working Group on Landfills (WGL) co-hosted a panel session with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at the ISWA World Congress in Oman with a focus on the theme of “Leveraging dumpsite closure opportunities to transition to sustainable waste treatment and disposal solutions“. The session, presented jointly by ISWA WGL and IFC’s Task Force, emphasized global efforts to assist countries in transitioning from dumpsite operations to more sustainable waste management practices.
The aim was to reduce waste mounding through bio-mining, sorted material reuse, and converting waste to Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) for green energy. A significant focus of the discussion was on diverting organic waste and recyclables from dumpsites to reduce the overall volume of waste. This involves innovative methods like bio-mining, RDF recovery, and plastic waste reuse. The discussion also addresses how these practices can aid the transition from open dumpsites to controlled or engineered sanitary landfill operations, emphasizing the environmental and operational benefits. The panel also delved into the challenges of financing dumpsite closure or remediation activities, noting the variance in regulations and standards across different regions. A related publication on “The impact of management choices on landfill methane emissions” by the ISWA WGL was launched at the event. The report focusing on how different landfill management choices impact gas capture compiles factual arguments to illustrate and clarify, to both regulators and operators, which realistic management choices during landfill operation provide the best options to minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from landfills over their lifetime. 



The Working Group organized a successful side event at the Waste and Resources Pavilion at the COP 28 on Closing Dumpsites: fulfilling a basic human right to tackle GHG emissions. The session addressed the environmental and human rights implications of dumpsite closure and highlighted the role of dumpsites in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, and their violation of basic human rights due to poor conditions impacting marginalized communities. Closing dumpsites is seen as a necessary step for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving public health, and enhancing living conditions. This involves relocating waste facilities away from residential areas and implementing sustainable waste management practices. The session acknowledged the financial, logistical, and stakeholder resistance challenges in closing dumpsites, advocating for collaborative efforts in waste management and dumpsite closure for environmental and human rights improvements. This discussion underscored the importance of global cooperation, innovative waste management strategies, and sustainable practices in transitioning from traditional dumpsites to more environmentally friendly and socially responsible waste disposal solutions. 

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