It’s clear that developing nations face considerable constraints in the area of waste management, but the problems also affect those countries trying to assist them. So, what practical steps can be taken to find reasonable solutions? The first step in assessing a problem is identification and the second is typically resolution: they go hand in hand. Finding ways to honor the culture and the needs of a developing country not only takes patience, innovation, and money, but it also requires a great deal of coordination, organization, and know-how. The goal is to implement solid waste management systems in places where they currently do not exist or function ineffectively, and where there is no one simple solution at hand. Some constraints are harder to address than others, which reaffirms the notion that a combination of measures is likely the best way to achieve a successful outcome.
Obtain support from different agencies
There are plenty of nations that want to assist the developing world, but one of the main problems they face is a lack of coordination. Agencies tend to approach the problem from different angles and are not concerned with finding ways to unify in the name of strength and efficacy. Much of the time, support is only provided on a short-term basis, which means the assistance feels more like a Band-Aid than some kind of a long-range solution. Combining support from different agencies to make the project more comprehensive and collaborative is necessary and can create a partnership of people willing to help the developing world. Sharing information and resources is the best way to enact real change. By putting their heads together in a unified way, donor countries can make their efforts more intentional and focus on slow growth, rather than a quick fix.
Set up functioning groups
The first question when working together is, “Who does what?” A lack of coordination between developing countries and external efforts is sometimes based on a certain level of confusion, which can be improved through a clear classification of roles and responsibilities for everyone involved. There a lot of important jobs to do, and once it’s established who does what, the real work can begin. Setting up functioning groups for discussion and facilitation can be done without much preparation, allowing the respective agencies to delegate responsibilities where they are most appropriate. This saves time, money, and effort on the part of everyone and provides a strong initial movement toward an administration of force that gets things done.
Strengthen human resources
In order to keep a waste management system sustainable in developing countries, human resources is key. Without it, collaboration is nearly impossible, and a variety of other needs are not met. The personnel who are needed for collaboration and technical expertise in this specialized field don’t always receive the attention they deserve. People and education are what make things happen. By strengthening human resources in local governments and making advanced education a priority, long-term solutions can be realized. For those countries receiving aid, it is up to them to improve their communication abilities and to take the challenge seriously. On the other hand, for countries offering aid, it’s important to fully understand the situation in these countries and how their assistance will help to change the current conditions.
Develop support at both the national and local levels
When organizing support for waste management in developing countries, utilizing resources at both the national and local levels is essential. Developing a strategic plan for both areas is one of the few ways to tackle a problem of this magnitude. Investing in initial efforts around education and awareness before the implementation of expensive equipment sets the foundation for a successful endeavor. There also needs to be significant follow up once a system is put into place. Checking on progress and offering additional support where needed supports the overall effort more profoundly and promotes sustainability.
Find alternative ways to become self-financing
It’s no secret that developing countries have limited funds for waste management programs and need to formulate new ways to reduce and recover the money they spend on such infrastructure. Since finances are an issue, these programs may have to find alternative ways to become more self-financing while still offering the services needed by the community. External support can help in this area by developing different ideas around waste minimization, refunds for recyclables, import or sales taxes on heavily packaged products, and even collection charges where applicable. Implementing some of these measures may provide the financial boost to keep these programs running. The private sector can alleviate some of the pressure on the government by investing wherever possible in waste management equipment and facilities and also funding educational efforts. Highlighting how the private sector can benefit from these decisions personally is another great way to keep them motivated.
Build public support
If effective waste management is going to occur, the general public has to be involved. Allocating more resources and taking such endeavors seriously has to be embraced by those in power. These decision makers cannot do so in a bubble. They will need to reach out and communicate with the public, who are invaluable in the overall process. Momentum, support, and collaboration will be needed to find some measure of success. However, once the public feels the benefits of such programs, it will become increasingly easier for those in power to step back and let the system run. By creating this link between the public and those in power, financial and tax incentives become easier to swallow, and labor protection programs are more appreciated. Teaching children how to become more eco-conscious and aware of their behavior can be a valuable way to change the next generation and could be one of the best opportunities for a clean and safer future. Changing national policy takes time and significant effort on the part of everyone involved.