Life on the rubbish dumps of Paranaque: A photo Essay

How Filipino children and adults risk their lives to eke out a pathetic living recycling waste

Living among rotting rubbish, smoke-filled air and polluted water, these are the men, women and children who spend their lives scouring for recyclable treasures in a garbage-filled abyss – just so they can survive.

Each day, as hundreds of truckloads of bags of waste are chucked onto the rubbish site in Paranaque, south of Manilia, the Philippines, gangs of so-called 'scavengers' rummage frantically to try and retrieve items they can sell for cash.

Living in utter poverty, and employed for around $4 a day, these rubbish pickers are exposed every day to hazardous waste, such as used needles, as well as infectious diseases, including E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus.

And this is a scene which is played out on dozens of landfill sites across the world, as those living in extreme poverty try and make ends meet. 

Now a set of eye-opening photos which convey the heat, stench and noise in which these pickers are forced to work have been released, to coincide with UN World Environment Day. 

Celebrated every year on 5 June, and run by the United National Environment Programme, the day is a call for global awareness on protecting the environment. This year's theme – Small Islands and Climate Change – is marked by the slogan: 'Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level'.

According to the UN, people living in urban areas around the world generate 1.3 billion tonnes of waste per year and this will increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 – unless something is done to change it. 

An elderly woman looks for recyclables at a garbage dump during UN World Environment Day in, Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines

An elderly woman looks for recyclable items at a garbage dump in Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines – but this is a sight witness in landfills and rubbish tips across the world, as those living in poverty try desperately to earn a living

Two boys sit on top of a slope at a garbage dump

So-called trash pickers and their families live amid rotting garbage so they can spend their days fishing valuable pieces items from a vast garbage tip, to sell on the streets themselves, or to hand over to those who employ them – in return for a meagre salary

The photos have been released to mark UN World Environment Day

The eye-opening photos, which show the conditions in which these people work, have been released to mark UN World Environment Day, which takes place on June 5

The recycling pickers cover their mouths as dust from the truck spreads across the site

The recycling pickers breathe smoke-filled air, wash and cook in polluted water and constantly have to fight off the dust and pollution which is created when lorries dump the precious rubbish onto the site

A plane flies overhead as Filipinos look for recyclables at a garbage dump - a sight seen in many countries across the world

What is deemed as rubbish to most is seen a treasure to these Filipinos, who work to look through the items for as little as $4 a day

With thin gloves for protection, the so-called scavengers scrabble among the piles of rubbish to try and retrieve something for their day's work

With just thin gloves for protection the so-called scavengers scrabble among the piles of rubbish – which include used syringes – to try and retrieve something for their day's work

A young girl carries two bags as she looks through the rubbish dump

A young girl carries two bags as she looks through the rubbish dump. With many having no access to a school, there seems to be no limit as to when these children start work on the rubbish sites

The young girl clambers bare-footed over the piles of rubbish, which are rife with needles, shards of glass and other sharp objects

A young girl is seen walking with bare feet over the piles of rubbish, which are rife with needles, shards of glass and other sharp objects – which frequently cause the workers injury or disease

The man searches through a mountain of rubbish to find anything which might make him a buck

The workers might have to search through mountains of rubbish before they strike lucky to find one piece of recyclable 'gold'. The UN says the contribution of the world's small island nations, such as the Philippines, towards global emission of greenhouse gases is less than 1 per cent

Young children are brought up living in this environment

Young children are brought up living in this environment and are exposed daily to infectious diseases and hazardous waste

Children look for recyclables at a garbage dump

E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus are common ailments in these communities. These are not places where rubbish is left to rot, but are instead a source of potential fortune

It might be hard work - but they can still find something to smile about. Children play along a slope at the garbage dump

But the children can still find something to smile about, as they push each other down the rubbish slopes as a break from their hard work

Children play along a slope at a garbage dump during World Environment Day

These families are among the poorest in their country and have limited education. It means they will have no skills to make a better life for themselves or their families

Filipinos look for recyclables at a garbage dump during World Environment Day

There is also the danger of unstable piles of rubbish collapsing on the workers as they scurry among the garbage, which has led to fatalities in other landfill sites

These workers live amid rotting garbage, breathe smoke filled air, wash and cook in polluted water

The waste can be agricultural, industrial, medical or domestic, bringing with it a huge range of dangers for the rubbish pickers

A plane

These piles of rubbish, which arrive among a torrent of grey, smoke and dirt, are one person's rubbish and another person's treasure

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CIO GreenFire Engineered Reclamtion
Member: GreenFire DAO

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There Will Be No Bubble for Bitcoin and Ethereum, Here’s Why

By Joshua Althauser

There Will Be No Bubble for Bitcoin and Ethereum, Here's Why

Tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban has recently stated that Bitcoin is facing a bubble. However, Daniel M. Harrison, the CEO of DMH&CO and managing partner of Monkey Capital, reveals that such a thing is impossible due to the market-influencing capabilities of Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Market bipolarity

The main factor that makes a digital bubble impossible is market bipolarity. For many people, market bipolarity is confusing but it can be distilled in a few important and understandable viewpoints. Apparently, market bipolarity is directly affected by George Soros’ “theory of reflexivity.”

According to George Soros, market conditions are not influenced by equilibrium. Rather, they are “reflexive” due to the synchronization of two functions: cognitive and manipulative function. The cognitive function is a neutral thinking base – this is where economic participants assess facts for what they are.

The manipulative function, on the other hand, turns one fact (or a couple of facts) in order to gain an advantage. Once the cognitive mind is affected by the manipulative mind, the neutrality will be “painted” in a different light it becomes a manipulated fact.

Therefore, markets reflect the view and perspective of participants, not the full scope of economics.

The situation can be represented in two ways:

  • Manipulative Cognitive = Reflexive
  • Manipulative + Cognitive = Equilibrium

The aforementioned equations show that a manipulative thinking pattern is the usual baseline and not a cognitive function. This shows the reflexive nature of all markets one of the clear indicators that Bitcoin and Ethereum are far from experiencing a digital bubble.

Artificial vs. Natural

More importantly, Ethereum and Bitcoin markets are influenced by two thinkers: artificial and natural. Artificial pertains to the Blockchain AI and natural is all about human intervention. Many experts think that Blockchain is adopting an "economic mindset."

If markets with manipulative and cognitive participants are suddenly annexed, it will always result in reflexivity or positive feedback loops. In this case, digital markets are bound by reflexivity or states of reflexivity. This is a self-perpetuating situation that can go on for many years.

It’s also important to know that artificial thinkers are the “igniters” of self-perpetuating reflexivity. With AI (Blockchain), digital markets will continue to thrive, leading to fluctuating values of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Market bipolarity will always be constant.

Through market bipolarity, any episode of a digital bubble is canceled out. The whole Blockchain system will never return to its “roots” but it will continue evolving. Price valuations, on the other hand, may remain grounded and directed by economic factors.

Innovation or its application in various sectors is also another important factor that shapes Blockchain technology’s tenacity and ability to survive a “bubble.”

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

DOMINIC POWELL / Friday, June 16, 2017

A demo of the Bancor protocol. Source:

A new blockchain startup built on the Ethereum platform has become one of the highest funded crowdfunding projects ever, raising approximately $US153 million ($201 million) through an initial coin offering (ICO) in just three hours earlier this week.

The startup is called Bancor, and it offers a platform aimed at making it easier for other startups and users to launch, manage, and trade their own forms of blockchain currency, known as “tokens”. These tokens are managed through the Ethereum network’s “smart contracts”, which enable self-executing contracts enforced and recorded on the blockchain.

Combining these two features, the Bancor protocol offers “smart tokens”, which enable “any party to instantly purchase or liquidate the smart token in exchange for any of its reserve tokens, directly through the smart token’s contract, at a continuously calculated price, according to a formula which balances buy and sell volumes”.

The ICO was intended to run for an hour, reports Coindesk, with a funding target of 250,000 ether (the main currency of the Ethereum blockchain), or around $US95 million. Due to alleged difficulties with the network, including supposed delayed transactions, the campaign was extended an additional two hours, resulting in a total of 396,720 ether or approximately $US153 million being raised.

Over 10,000 investors got on board with the ICO, with Coindesk reporting the largest single purchase was $US27 million, equalling 6.9 million BNT, the token used by the Bancor protocol to fuel its new platform.

This was enough to shoot Bancor into the number one spot of highest funded crowdfunds, and continues the recent initial coin offering craze, with blockchain startup Brave raising $US35 million in 30 seconds via a recent ICO.

However, due to the transitory value of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, the true amount raised by these startups is ever-changing. With the value of ether increasing over 2800% this year alone, a $US153 million raise could be $50 million more, or less, in a matter of days.

The Ethereum protocol is proving to be a popular platform for successful crowdfunds, with seven of the top 10 crowdfunding projects having been based on the platform, including the crowdfund for the platform itself.

Money in itself is not evil

This is from friend, a most dedicated man, the Director of Kigezi Orphans Project, Serving Children the lord! through this orphange.

*In 1923, nine of the wealthiest people in the world met at Chicago's Edge Water Beach Hotel*.

*Their combined wealth, it is estimated, exceeded the wealth of the Government of the United States at that time*. These men certainly knew how to make a living and accumulate wealth. *Attending the meeting were the following men*:
1. The president of the *largest steel company,*
2. The president of the *largest utility company,*
3. The president of the *largest gas company,*
4. The president of the *New York Stock Exchange,*
5. The president of the *Bank of International Settlements,*
6. The *greatest wheat speculator*,
7. The greatest *bear on Wall Street,*
8. The head of the *World's greatest Economy*
9. A member of *President Harding's cabinet*.

*That's a pretty impressive line-up of people by anyone's yardstick.*
Yet, 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants?

*Let’s examine what happened to them 25 years later*.
1. The President of the then largest steel company (Bethlehem Steel Corp), *Charles M Schwab, lived on borrowed capital for five years before he died bankrupt.*
2. The President of the then largest gas company, *Howard Hubson, went insane*.
3. One of the greatest commodity traders (Wheat Speculator), *Arthur Cutten, died insolvent.*
4. The then President of the New York Stock Exchange, *Richard Whitney, was sent to jail.*
5. The member of the US President’s Cabinet (the member of President Harding's cabinet), *Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail just to be able to go home and die in peace.*
6. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, *Jesse Livermore committed suicide*.
7. The President of the then world’s greatest monopoly, *Ivar Krueger, committed suicide*.
8. The President of the Bank of International Settlement, *Leon Fraser, committed Suicide.*
9. The president of the largest utility company, *Samuel Insull, died penniless.*

*What they forgot was how to "make" life while they got busy making money!*

*Money in itself is not evil;* it provides food for the hungry, medicine for the sick, clothes for the needy. *Money is only a medium of exchange.*

*We need two kinds of education*:
a) One that teaches us *how to make a living,*
b) One that teaches us *how to live*.

*There are many of us who are so engrossed in our professional life that we neglect our family, health and social responsibilities. If asked why we do this, we would reply that *"We are doing it for our family"*.
Yet, *our kids are sleeping when we leave home*. They are sleeping *when we come back home*!! *Twenty years later, we’ll turn back, and they’ll all be gone, to pursue their own dreams and their own lives*.

*Without water, a ship cannot move*. *The ship needs water, but if the water gets into the ship, the ship will face existential problems*. What was once a means of living for the ship will now become a means of destruction.

Similarly we live in a time where earning is a necessity but *let not the earning enter our hearts, for what was once a means of living will surely become a means of destruction for us as well.*
*So take a moment and ask yourself, "Has the water entered my ship?"*
I hope not!

Hope the above story will drive all of us in a better direction in life.
''Alone I can 'Say' *but*
together we can 'talk'.

'Alone I can 'Enjoy' *but*
together we can

'Alone I can 'Smile' *but*
together we can 'Laugh'.

That's the BEAUTY of
Human Relations.

We are nothing *without*
each other
Together we can bless the children at Kigezi Orphans Home Cbo with whatever little we have!!!! Kigezi is in food crisis but we have hope and faith that your loving and caring heart will rescue these helpless poor little souls at kigezi orphans project!

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Sri Lanka: Waste management needs holistic social intervention

 It is said that in countries such as Sri Lanka, one percent of the urban population, that is at least about 15 million people survive by separating what can be reused from the waste that others dispose of.

 Jun 10, 2017Jun 10, 2017 Sri Lanka Guardian ColumnistsFeatureLionel BopageSri LankaNo comments

When a country lacks genuine good governance; government administration becomes weak. Politicians become misled as they do not receive from a passive, poorly disciplined and unprincipled bureaucracy appropriate advice for social development. Political commitment to implement the pledges they made to the people when they came to power, has vanished.

by Lionel Bopage

( June 10, 2017, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) In an environment where affluent families are dominant, garbage becomes waste though it may then become an important source of income for some of the poor people living in urban areas. It is said that in countries such as Sri Lanka, one percent of the urban population, that is at least about 15 million people survive by separating what can be reused from the waste that others dispose of.

In areas like Blumenthal and Meethotamulla where garbage has been piled up into mountains, and in areas proposed such as Ekala where garbage is to be re-piled, some people survive by finding something beneath these mountains of garbage to sell or eat. The people, who go through these garbage mountains are subject to poisoning and toxic smoke and face various kinds of diseases. When managing waste in a country, betterment of the lives of such people needs to become part of that management process.

In the subject curriculum of environment used in many schools, waste management can also be included. Creating awareness of students from kindergarten upwards and their parents and neighbours through educational activities conducted at their homes and providing them with the necessary facilities is an important part of a waste management programme. A national program of waste management can be launched using such school-based activities on waste management as well as the activities that can be practised in day to day life as a model.

Contribution to the tragedy

Meethotamulla is not the first garbage mountain that has collapsed. Unless conscious measures are taken to prevent such situations from occurring in the future, it will not be the last. One cannot talk about this garbage mountain without mentioning the fact like everywhere else in the world, Lankans also live in a consumer society, in which investors act to maximise their profits at the cost of human life, regardless of the moral or legal consequences. Bribery, corruption, bloodshed and murder are recurring motifs of such an inequitable society, as evidenced by the repressive measures the Lankan state used against protest campaigns the communities living near this garbage mountain carried out for the last several years.

All successive governments, politicians and the bureaucracy who have not considered or disregarded these issues and all those people who have not paid attention about this issue have directly or indirectly contributed to this tragedy. Until the end of the nineties, many in Lanka used ceramic ware, banana or lotus leaves to consume food and drinks. Local authorities at the time arranged waste collection and disposal operations successfully, though such operations became defunct at a later stage.

The situation changed in this century with plastic being used in day to day life as a very common and inexpensive raw material. Due to the short life span of plastic products, an enormous amount of garbage started piling up in our environment. Lankans began using disposable plastic ware and bags, as well as polythene wraps to pack and consume their food and drinks and then dumping that plastic rubbish everywhere. This waste started being piled up plenteously, not only in the surrounds of Colombo, but also in faraway villages.

Global waste generation

This garbage crisis is not a problem confined only to Sri Lanka. Many countries that celebrated the World Earth Day on the last 22nd April find waste management turning into an escalating dangerous issue. When the amount of garbage thrown out around the world is taken into consideration, only less than half of the world’s population enjoy the privilege of systematic and regular waste collection.

According to the estimates the World Bank had made in 2011, cities around the world generate about 1.3 billion tons of waste every year[1]. The amount of waste is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tons in the year 2025 and to 4 billion tons in 2100. As shown in the diagram below, the highest waste generating countries of the world are the United States of America, China, Brazil, Japan and Germany. During the past decade, Australia’s waste generation has increased by 170 percent[2].

Mega cities in Asia are facing a serious challenge of disposing waste. Smokey Mountain with a population of about 13 million in the city of Manila in the Philippines is one of the largest lands refilled with waste. Thousands of people who live here and use the waste become victims of toxic smoke every day. Mumbai in India with a population of about 12 million find it difficult to locate land to refill with waste. The city of Jakarta in Indonesia with a population of around 11 million is overflowing with waste. The city of Bangkok in Thailand with a population of around 10 million was covered with smoke for weeks due to waste mountains catching fire recently. These situations leading to environmental pollution are not only harmful to the health of the general public, but may also lead some developing countries to a state of desolation covered almost entirely with toxic poisonous gases.


The chairperson of the “WasteZero” initiative in the USA states that we do not consider waste management as an issue so long as we cannot see that waste. It cannot be so in Sri Lanka as waste has been piled up everywhere for everyone to see. Compared to electricity, water and gas, there is no price to be paid for waste disposed of, and this is said to be one of the factors influencing less emphasis on waste. It is also said that when arrangements are made to efficiently dispose of waste, we are influenced to put away garbage even more.

Accordingly some experts say that measures are to be taken for each household to pay a fee according to the weight or the size of waste that household puts away[3]. It is said that due to the “WasteZero”’s support for charging a fee for every bag of waste disposed at a waste collection centre, waste recycling has increased two-fold and waste disposal has reduced by 44 percent. However, for many Lankans, who are already paying a heavy tax out of their small income, this will become another burden on them. Obviously, it can become a burden that they could not bear.

Waste generation and management in Sri Lanka

Lanka generates less than 15 million tons of waste annually. Nevertheless, many local authorities find managing even this amount of waste a huge burden. A substantial part of revenue of these authorities is spent on disposing rubbish. Due to increasing urbanization, industrialization and consumerism with population growth, not only the amount of waste generated is rising, but also the constitution of waste (for example, electronic waste: e-waste) is also changing. When compared with the land size and the population density of the country, this is a worrying development. For managing the existing and the future exponential increase in waste , there are no signs of a timely policy platform or a clear programme, except for the great vocabulary of politicians.For such a plan, some key elements for consideration would be the facts that the composition of waste is changing; the amount of waste is accelerating, the collection of waste is more expensive than waste disposal, and in particular, the collection of waste remains mostly inefficient. Despite many people thinking that this issue could be avoided by taking the waste mountains in their surrounds elsewhere, the outcome of such a step would be to impose this issue on people living in another area. Some others think that by burning garbage in the open or using incinerators, this issue could be solved. Even though such measures can be used as part of the solution, one step for a real solution to the problem is to make arrangements to collect waste efficiently. However, a holistic solution for waste management cannot be achieved without social participation, working to change the cultural attitudes and behavioral patterns of people,.Around the year 1970, I have seen some households in Nuwaraeliya using human excreta during their agricultural work. Being harmful to public health and putrid gases released, this process would have come to a standstill. In the villages and surrounds of the cities, some of those engaged in agricultural work make mixed fertilizer from waste, and even using vermin. Rural people in India and Nepal very cleverly engage in this type of activities. Without dumping decaying garbage on street corners, they use barns, boxes and concrete pits for this purpose. They sell mixed fertilizer to nurseries and farmers. They separate plastic parts from garbage and sell them. Remaining garbage is buried, or burned.Yet, in locations where population density is high, it is difficult to carry out such activities. Government intervention is necessary to develop technological facilities needed for the management of waste being collected in cities. If this cannot be done, then such waste needs to be moved to appropriate, less populated areas. For this, after negotiating with local authorities, arrangements could be made to launch on a national scale a programme that is based on a scientific analysis.

Importance of Genuine Good Governance

When a country lacks genuine good governance; government administration becomes weak. Politicians become misled as they do not receive from a passive, poorly disciplined and unprincipled bureaucracy appropriate advice for social development. Political commitment to implement the pledges they made to the people when they came to power, has vanished. Policy platforms, mechanisms and programmes needed for good governance are nowhere to be seen. When such a situation prevails, it is not surprising that the outcome is that the public service becomes inefficient and local authorities are unable to maintain essential services.In such circumstances, those who wield power and those who are close to them come forward, as they choose, to achieve their personal objectives. The result of this inefficiency will be soaring ‘peoples’ protests. Through such protests people themselves come forward to take initiatives to address such social issues. Making communities aware of and training them in waste management cannot be an arduous task. What is needed is to make a positive change in people’s attitudes relating to putting away waste and generate the attitude among them that waste is something that can be used as a resource.

Society towards waste management

The recycling behavioural patterns that can be employed at households can be positively influenced by means of a school based practical waste management education model utilising the experiences and inspirations found among the generations. By this, knowledge and understanding of primary school students can be developed significantly; thus, the message of “reducing, re-using and recycling” of waste can also be carried over to their families and friends. When good actions are observed, they can be motivated to use such actions again and again. By doing so, it will be possible to link them to a sustainable waste management process.Urban waste management is a crucial factor in maintaining our ongoing relationship with the environment around cities. Efficient and sustainable waste management depend on several factors, including the existing development trends, the socio-economic composition and the commitment of the government and society. Therefore, it is a unique challenge that we are faced with in this epoch.It was reported recently that because waste found in Sri Lanka is highly moist, such waste cannot be used for recycling and power generation, sanitary land filling methods should be used for wet waste management, an area in the Puttalam district had been selected for this purpose, and China was willing to assist with this project. In some countries of the world, for example, in China and Singapore, management of such wet waste is carried out.

Experience of China

In the past few decades, Chinese people have moved in vast numbers from rural areas  to urban areas. Because of this, there had been a rapid increase of population in the cities and a huge change in lifestyles. Enormous changes in the consumerist lifestyle of nearly 1.4 billion people generated a massive flood of waste. As such, the not so developed general waste management services have been severely affected. In urban waste management, China appears to be relying on a formal government administered system and an informal system that is not under the control of the government.About 300 million tons of garbage generated annually; a huge amount of this waste is generated in the cities. The common waste management service that exists is to collect unsorted urban solid waste for land filling in suburban areas or their surrounds, or as close as possible to the countryside, or for burning using incinerators. Despite the allocation of containers for separating recyclable waste, the government’s waste management service does not have the capacity to implement such a recycling methodology. It is also said that a large amount of electronic waste passes through a shadow market.[4]

We know that the waste management in the cities of China has adversely affected the lives of people living there. It is said that the weak infrastructure used in the collection of garbage and the lack of investment and enforcement in waste management are consolidating the social inequalities of the people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who migrate to the city from the village. Reclamation of land for refilling with waste and installation of incinerators for burning waste close to the suburbs where poor immigrants are inhabiting not only bring in toxic gases, but among some of the disturbances include pollution of sound, soil, water and air caused by trucks transporting that waste. Thus, the interior of prosperous cities remains relatively clean, while the environmental pollution the garbage of the residents in those cities is exported to small towns and poor communities, who have been politically and economically marginalized from the city.[5]China has tried various methodologies to overcome the challenges urban waste has caused. A few years ago, China tested certain advanced theoretical technologies capable of mechanically separating urban waste material, and convert bio-degradable components into compost material, for making mixed fertiliser. However, the toxic sediments produced were not only unusable; those sediments also became a health hazard. The unsorted waste containing organic matter is not an efficient burning fuel. Due to the large amounts of additional fuel that were needed, it became a loss-making exercise.Regulation of waste incineration in China is also unsatisfactory. The environmental pollution the toxic gases emitted from burning waste has become one of the most pressing environmental and health issue for the needy communities living around the edges of cities. The interest the Chinese central government has shown in recent years about the use of anaerobic digesters to decompose organic waste can be viewed as a positive step. It is reported that now China has launched several large scale pilot projects that use anaerobic digestive agents.

Experience of Singapore

In the year 2000, Singapore generated around 7600 tons of waste per day. There was no further land available in the mainland to dispose of waste by landfill. Singapore could take rapid effective measures to overcome the growing waste management crisis because of the political commitment of its government and leaders, it being a small country, and its economy being a strong one. In 2001, Singapore launched a program to raise the waste recycling ratio. A landfill was built on the island of Semakau on land reclaimed from the sea.Singapore introduced waste sorting and recycling process for its residents and a system of waste collection. Schools, offices, shopping malls and factories were brought under the recycling program. By the end of 2005, 56 percent of the Singaporean households had been contributing to the recycling process. Thus, Singapore could reduce the volume of waste going into landfills and produce power. By employing modern innovative waste disposal methodologies, about 38 percent of Singapore’s solid waste materials is used for power generation, about 60 percent is recycled and about 2 percent is used for landfilling. Its four plants generating electricity from waste, which is tantamount to about three percent of the country’s electricity needs.According to the Executive Director Eugene Tay of Singapore’s WasteZero-SG agency, megacities of Asia can learn many lessons from Singapore. He thinks that these cities need to take a step backward, and after emphasising on the aspects of “reducing” and “reusing” of the waste management cycle, need to look at waste disposal as the last resort.[6] 

Initial steps of waste management

The initial step of a programme of waste management in Sri Lanka needs to make arrangements to change the habits and behaviour of people towards waste. Key aspects that need to be in such a plan include minimising the use of material that leads to the generation of waste, motivating them to separate waste and reuse whatever items that can be reused, recycling and encouraging them to regularly dispose of waste.Funds or loans received from the government or international bodies can be used for implementing a waste management process. Nevertheless, if a local body cannot cover the costs needed for the daily activities required for this, it will not be able to maintain waste management on a regular basis. It is possible to reduce the per capita ecological footprint in Colombo and other cities by introducing a socially more reasonable approach in the use of resources towards urban waste management. This is crucial in reducing the ecological impact due to urbanisation. Using the resources in a fairer manner, our cities can be maintained in a more sustainable manner. Addressing the ecological injustices of the currently existing waste management system will also be a step towards alleviating the social inequalities that exist among all those who live in and use our cities.For effective implementation of the methodology that will be used for waste management as designed, the following need to be satisfied:·         local authorities need to have the knowledge and ability required to monitor and assess the work that is expected from a private service provider engaged in waste management;·         the methodology used to collect waste needs to match with the needs and intentions of the residents in the local authority;·         taking steps necessary for waste management only after consultations with those who manage and handle waste; and·         not to impose those measures on them;Otherwise, the waste management system will neither be embedded in society nor be regularly maintained.Experiences of other countries have shown that the use of some very sophisticated technologies for power generation from waste does not go together with certain facts. Therefore, in determining an appropriate technology for waste management in Sri Lanka, it will be important to consider the following:1.      Is the proposed technology compatible with the composition of the waste generated in the country?2.      Is that technology compatible with the existing or futuristic recycling needs?3.      Is it possible for the people resident in the local authority to sustainably maintain that technology?4.      Is the methodology the local authority use advanced enough to properly utilise that technology?For every unit of waste reduced, reused, or recycled, it is not necessary to spend on collecting or safely disposing that unit of waste. What is important for cities that do not currently engage in waste management, would be to identify simple, appropriate and affordable solutions that can be gradually implemented. Doing so can provide the best affordable solution to the people. As the first step, collection of waste can be expanded to include the whole city; and locations where garbage is openly piled can be taken under the control of the local authority and make those locations into waste disposal centers. Creating an environment for the public sector including local authorities, citizens, private sector including businesses to work together, the cycle of reducing, reusing and recycling waste can be taken forward while safeguarding public health, and the environment.

[1] Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, World Bank.

[2] MRA Consulting 2016, State of Waste 2016 – current and future Australian trends, at

[3] For example, see Waste & Recycling at the town of Turtleford, UK, at

[4] Baldé, C.P., Wang, F., Kuehr, R., Huisman, J. (2015), The global e-waste monitor – 2014, United Nations University, IAS – SCYCLE, Bonn, Germany.

[5]  See Beijing Besieged by Waste, a documentary directed by Wang Jiuliang

[6] Yep, E. 13 September 2015, Singapore’s Innovative Waste-Disposal System, Wall Street Journal, at