Waste is a huge problem in many poor urban areas. Neighbourhoods are difficult to reach and do not have any public or private waste management services, so waste piles up between the houses, clogs drains and provides a breeding ground for pests. DESWAM offers concrete solutions to the waste management issues in poor urban areas.
The aim of the programme is to establish sustainable decentralised structures to collect and treat waste in residential areas, together with the local community, municipality and the private sector.
The DESWAM service offers demand-driven modules that are flexible to local environmental conditions and users, and provide options for waste disposal and recycling. These modules range from waste separation, regular collection of household waste, recycling and reuse of resources through to waste prevention and education.
The possibility to choose between different modules enables the communities and user groups to select options tailored to their needs. This may be, for example, the number of available staff, the amount of waste, topographic conditions, environmental capacity, and financial limits. This innovative approach to provide decentralised solutions for waste treatment ensures functionality, even under difficult conditions.
In Indonesia, material recovery facilities (MRFs) are built in close cooperation with local governments, in which waste collected from households is separated and treated. Biowaste is composted and used as a fertiliser. The recyclables are sold at usual market prices to recycling companies. Residual waste is properly disposed at official landfills.
In Tanzania, BORDA has developed a range of models for waste management. A lot of space is needed to build MRFs, which is often scarce in poor urban areas. Therefore, MRFs are just one option in addition to composting plants, recycling depots and sorting facilities. Composting transforms organic waste into a nutrient-rich compost product. Recycling depots buy up recyclables, like plastic and glass, and resell them to the recycling industry. In sorting facilities, mixed waste is separated into different categories, but not further processed. By specialising on one aspect of waste management, economically independent businesses can be established in areas with limited space.
In general, the amount of waste is reduced when nutrient and material cycles are closed through collecting, sorting and recycling domestic waste.
Additionally, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced through aerobic composting of organic waste, which counteracts climate change. DESWAM facilities are run by organisations that emerge from the user communities and established as part of the project (also called community based organisations). In Tanzania, facilities are also operated by the private sector. BORDA and its partners transfer knowledge to support the operators. Beside the sale of compost and recyclables, operation of the facilities is also financed by monthly fees collected from participating households. In this way, DESWAM not only contributes to a cleaner environment and improved public health, but also provides jobs and strengthens local development.