ORBIT e.V.

Financing solid waste management projects in developing countries: lessons from a decade of World Bank lending

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Courtesy of ORBIT e.V.

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is an integral but much neglected part of the broad urban environmental management of cities. Despite consuming a major share of municipal budgets – often between 10 to 50 percent of operational expenditures – solid waste services in the cities of most low- and middle-income countries are unreliable, provide inadequate coverage, interfere with other urban services, and have adverse impacts on public health and the urban environment. Finding and implementing cost-effective and affordable solutions requires a more strategic focus.

While MSWM is a municipal responsibility in most countries, it has often been neglected. The process of decentralization in many countries over the last decade has raised the consciousness of municipal administrators about the importance of this sector – both because the voting public is now demanding improved urban services, and because the provision of this service represents a major expenditure item for local governments. At the same time, there is increasing pressure on municipalities from state environmental agencies to properly dispose of the solid waste that is collected. There are, however, a number of issues to be addressed if substantial improvements are to be achieved. An analysis of projects supported by the World Bank helps in the identification of these issues and suggestions for addressing them.

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