President's Blog

19 Mar 2018 13:29 Age: 1 year

Spring School: How to Design Solutions for Solid Waste Management – a Method and Toolkit for Low and Middle-Income Countries

Category: ISWA BLOG, ISWA News


ISWA would like to invite policy-makers, planners, administrators both at the country and city level to attend the Spring School “How to Design Solutions for Solid Waste Management - A Method and Toolkit for Low and Middle-Income Countries” which will take place in Bologna, Italy, 21 - 26 May. Course Leader, Simonetta Tunesi, has prepared a guest blog to explain why this course is for you.


What this Spring School provides:

UNEP and ISWA data shows that the amount of generated solid waste is growing at a dramatic rate. Worldwide, by 2025 it will double from the striking amount of 7-10 billion tonnes estimated in 2010. However, as daily practice proves, solid waste management (SWM) is a complicated problem and the efforts for the effective implementation of SWM systems in low and middle-income countries are not keeping up with the solid waste growth rate, due to insufficient design, technical capabilities and funding availability.

Well-aware of this situation, policy-makers often ask ISWA how they could begin to solve their country’s or city’s waste management issues and how to choose from the wide list of available organisational approaches and technologies.

This Spring School recognises these obstacles to sustainable SWM and, with expert teaching, analysis of case studies and selected site visits, provides participants with a structured SWM planning method which guides policy-makers, SWM planners, administrators both at the country and city level to formulate, write and approve a SWM National Strategy or a SWM City Action Plan.

The interventions to long-term improvement of the currently ineffective SWM systems have already failed, often because a comprehensive vision of the problem to be confronted was missing. This Spring School will explain that every effort to improve a non-effective SWM situation should be undertaken with a long-term direction and by confronting the whole SWM problem as it manifests in a specific city or country. This planning method guides policy-makers, administrators, technical personnel and researchers through clearly defined steps and it empowers them by explaining how SWM complexity can be confronted.

In the weeks preceding the Spring School, participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire to quantitatively describe their own SWM situation: this preliminary step is specifically designed to help them understand the problems each of them is facing, the data and information that are lacking and what is needed before implementing changes.

How this swm design method proceeds

The approach illustrated in the Spring School is both practical and innovative.
The School begins by explaining the organisational, technical, social and cost components of effective and environmentally sound Integrated SWM systems; this knowledge is not to be used to prescribe ready-made solutions but to highlight the relevance of a long-term vision in planning. By understanding the different ways effective SWM systems operate, policy-makers and SWM designers get to see beyond the status-quo and are encouraged to build a vision of the future that they can share with their community.

The SWM design method illustrated is based on the waste flow analysis, an innovative engineering tool that becomes the instrument to describe in its entirety an existing SWM system in order to highlight its critical elements and bottlenecks.

Further, the waste flow analysis is used to envision and formulate alternative scenarios to improve, in time, the existing ineffective SWM system. Life Cycle Assessment is proposed as a practical tool to compare the environmental impacts of scenarios: the results of this analysis define the effectiveness of each alternative SWM system in recovering materials and energy while reducing environmental impacts.

Scenarios are then compared in terms of cost, to determine what can be feasible. Participants will also learn the importance of performing a financial analysis to secure the funding for capital investments and to ensure long-lasting implementation of the chosen infrastructural scenario.

This SWM design method underlines that all planning steps are to be discussed by setting up an inclusive consultation method. The Spring School illustrates the criteria needed to identify the wide array of actors forming the waste network and it underlines the relevance of providing a calm and rational setting for open discussion, where the expertise and concerns of all actors can be illustrated and addressed.


For more information on the programme and registration, please see here.