Sri Lanka disposes of the majority of its solid waste in landfills. This practice is cheap, but it comes with hidden costs, the most recent example being the landslide at Meethotamulla.
Many low-income and developing countries use landfills in favor of recycling or incinerating garbage, since it is the most cost-effective option. Developed countries, however, dispose of garbage in myriad ways that generate electricity or keep harmful waste out of the environment.
The following are short explanations of four different countries’ methods for managing their solid waste.
Indian urban areas alone produce over 100,000 metric tonnes of trash per day, and urban local bodies (ULBs) are generally responsible for collecting, separating, and transporting this garbage. But the majority of ULBs are under-equipped and underfunded, and they struggle to fulfill their trash-related duties.
Indian cities do not charge for waste collection, which puts financial pressure on the ULBs. In order to cut costs, the ULBs rarely separate trash and only pick up garbage from comparatively small areas. Very rarely is biodegradable waste separated out, and public awareness about recycling practices is very low.
Furthermore, waste collection from dumpsites is rare, and processing of garbage is rarely carried out. The ULBs often transport waste in open trucks and dump the garbage in open areas without treating it, leading to adverse environmental and health affects.
Hordes of rag pickers, or informal workers who come from the poorest sections of society, often provide the only real recycling in India, and they are vulnerable to adverse health effects due to their work and poor conditions. These people recycle up around 20 percent of the waste generated in the cities.
Solid waste is often dumped on the outskirts of cities, and, since urban areas in India have rapidly expanded, these dumping sites have become part of cities.
India has undertaken several projects to improve its waste management practices during the past ten years, and many cities have begun implementing better techniques, such as community-based waste collection and investments in improved technology.