The waste management market is a lucrative business, but one with many drawbacks. In addition to being a cumbersome product, waste promotes disease, pollutes poor countries and contributes to the current climate crisis. The report “What a Waste 2.0” of the World Bank proposes to bring solutions to these thorny problems.
What is involved in this market ?
It includes all operations related to waste and resulting from human activity. It takes into account the actions going from the collection of the waste until their elimination or their storage.
What does it represent ?
In 2018, the global production of waste amounted to 2 billion tons. Only 13% of this waste was recycled, with the rest stored in the wild or dumped in the oceans. Focusing on Europe, Germany leads the way with 406 million tons, closely followed by France with 343 million tons. Although recently impacted by COVID-19 and containment, waste management is a lucrative market with a turnover of billions of Euros.
The dark side of this market :
Although waste management is a universal problem, 90% of this waste is in low-income countries, as rich countries pay them to dump their own waste in these countries. It is therefore the populations of these countries in difficulty who pay the price. We can then observe cases of collapses of open dumps that destroy houses and kill their occupants. These inhabitants live close to these dumps because they depend on them -they live on the recovery of waste- and cannot settle elsewhere since they are generally the poorest inhabitants of these cities.
The World Bank’s “What a Waste 2.0” report :
Sahmed Wahba, the World Bank’s Director of Disaster Risk Management, says that poor waste management leads to serious environmental consequences such as the spread of disease, contamination of the oceans and endangerment of animal species. Moreover, in 2016, 5% of greenhouse gases came from waste. Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Director of the Social, Urban and Rural Development Division of the World Bank, adds that garbage burned in the open or stored in unauthorized dumps is harmful to human health, the environment and the climate. Of the 2 billion tons of annual waste, at least 33% is not treated properly, and this will only get worse as it is estimated that the volume of waste will increase by 70% in the next 30 years, bringing the total to 3.4 billion tons.
Is there a way out ?
In the “What a Waste 2.0” report, the World Bank states that it is essential to provide financing to countries in need to develop modern waste management systems, to help major waste producing countries reduce their consumption of plastic products and guide them towards waste reduction and recycling programs, and finally, to fight food waste by educating the consumer.