Waste Management Captures DELGOSEA’s Imagination in Siem Reap

Waste Management Captures DELGOSEA’s Imagination in Siem Reap

Waste mountains are rising as the ASEAN region becomes more prosperous – the recent DELGOSEA workshop on waste management looked at good practices for managing solid waste from around the globe and debated how to turn ASEAN into a frontrunner for innovative approaches to handling waste.

More than 70 representatives of DELGOSEA member organisations, international experts and Cambodian local governments met on 3 August in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to learn from each other and explore the challenges solid waste management poses for local governments keen to find resourceful and sustainable ways of dealing with the increasing amount of rubbish across all ASEAN countries.

A stimulating keynote presentation by Rowan Fraser, project consultant with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), gave the wider international context for the following discussions and workshops. The urban population in Asia is rising dramatically and is forecast to hit 250 million by 2030. In addition, incomes in Asia are rising rapidly – all this translates into higher consumption and more waste generation. Instead of letting the rubbish pile up in landfills or burn it, UNESPAC is encouraging local governments to view garbage as a resource and implement innovative ideas of recycling and reusing waste, both to generate income, but also to turn it into alternative energy and compost. Mr Fraser outlined both the many advantages of such recycling schemes, but also reported on the challenges, such as the difficulties to making them financially viable and the need to encourage ownership by the local community, as well as suggesting ways of overcoming these difficulties.

Homing in on the specific situation in Cambodia, the next speaker, Mr Mun Miny, an independent consultant who was working with the local government association NLC/S, presented the results of a survey of municipalities in Cambodia where the responsibility for waste management has just been decentralised to the local level. The results show clearly that there are fundamental, include amongst others a centralized mode of management, inadequate and inappropriate legal framework, and ineffective enforcement of legal instruments as well as inefficient human and financial resources. While some of the municipalities have tried to be pro-active in implementing the new regulation quickly, it became apparent that many provincial administrations were unsure how to proceed and did not make it easy for the municipalities to move forward.

After these useful background presentations, it was time to become more specific and practice-oriented; three best practices for waste management models were described in more detail. The first one came from Indonesia with Mr. Galih Adhi Pramono Programme Associate of UCLG- ASPAC explaining the strategies UCLG ASPAC had devised to assist Indonesia cities in their waste management efforts. The Philippines were next: Gloria Buenaventura, Head of the City Environment Management Office of Marikina City, one of the original DELGOSEA best practice cities, outlined how the city successfully introduced recycling and waste separation. Last but not least, from the other side of the world, Michael Dahm, Regional Director of the German Rhein-Sieg-Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft, showcased the German approach. 

The final session saw the participants split into three groups to discuss waste management models from their region, explore the question of public-private partnerships as part of the model and to showcase good practices from their own experience to the plenary. 

There was no shortage of questions and comments from the audience who had enjoyed a stimulating day and returned home with many new ideas to try out in their own communities.

For more information on waste management issues and resources on www.delgosea.eu: 

Results from Waste Management Survey in Cambodia Published

DELGOSEA Members Concerned about Waste Management in their Communities

Turning Waste into Alternative Energy in Kendari, Indonesia

Chiang Rai City, Thailand

DELGOSEA Resources on Waste Management

Case study – Innovative Waste Management in Thailand