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close this bookGATE - 1/93 - Solid Waste Management (GTZ GATE, 1993, 52 p.)
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Dear readers

Waste avoidance, waste reduction and recycling- these are the principles by which the industrialized countries are meanwhile trying to cope with their mountains of refuse. But in many respects the concept has still not been implemented in practice, above all as regards waste avoidance and recycling. The fact is that it isn't easy to overcome the happy-go-lucky throwaway mentality. For far too long we overlooked the fact that the solid and liquid waste we generate in households and industry contains substances that can be reused.

In the field of waste management, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) is trying to help its partners avoid the mistakes of the affluent societies in the North. In many Third World cities waste disposal is a disaster. More than half the waste is left uncollected, with terrible consequences for public health.

As the projects show, building awareness at community level of the need for waste management is a lengthy process. However, the authors of our Focus articles have some encouraging initial successes to report. Local, privately run waste management systems are the most effective. Waste collection and recycling go hand in hand. But the projects also show that waste collectors are often the poorest of the poor. As a rule, the importance of their contribution to a cleaner environment and to recovering scarce raw materials is completely underestimated.