South Asia Policy Dialogue on Waste Management Results of Preliminary Country Survey

Event: First Sub-Regional workshop on Preparation of status Report and Sub-regional Roadmap for Implementing the Global Waste Management Goals toward Addressing SDGs in South Asia
Date: 25-26 March 2019, Kathmandu, Nepal

Home to roughly 1.8 billion people, South Asia generates approximately 334 million tonnes of waste per year of which 174 million tonnes (57%) is organic in content. In addition to the increase in municipal solid waste, managing complex and emerging waste streams, including e-waste, food waste, construction and demolition waste, disaster waste, plastic and marine litter are also growing issues in need of attention. Across many countries in South Asia, about 80%-90% of plastic waste is inadequately disposed of, and therefore pose the risk of polluting land, rivers and oceans. Due to a lack of effective policy and regulations, technical, financial and human resources, many countries in the sub-region are facing tremendous challenges to provide adequate waste management services. Waste collection rates are low (44%) causing uncontrolled dumping into rivers, and open spaces, resulting in severe public and environmental health problems. The most prevalent treatment methodology is landfilling, as it is the cheapest and the easiest way to dispose wastes. However, many landfills are operated as unsanitary dumpsites (75%), also generating public health and environmental risks.
In this regard, sustainable waste management based on the waste hierarchy and 3R principles (reduce, reuse and recycle) is increasingly gaining local, national and international attention as one of the key drivers for achieving both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commitments under Paris Agreement, with its co-benefit approach addressing multiple development challenges whilst pushing climate actions forward through mitigating greenhouse gases (GHGs) and Short-lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) – associated with global warming and ambient air pollution. On waste-climate nexus, recent analyses have identified that more than 60% of initially proposed Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on climate include references to waste actions.
In this context, the IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET) has been collaborating with the governments of South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and the key regional stakeholders, including South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), towards the development of a Report on the current state of waste management in the Sub-region, as well as a Sub-Regional Roadmap which would communicate the regional voice, enhance regional cooperation and guide the implementation towards above goals, building on the preceding discussions and the priority action areas identified by UNEP’s Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO) and Hanoi 3R Declaration.
"The First Sub-Regional workshop on Preparation of status Report and sub-regional Roadmap for Implementing the Global Waste Management Goals toward Addressing SDGS in South Asia" was organized on 25-26 March 2019, to develop a baseline on the state of waste management in the Sub-region, and initiate the discussion to develop the roadmap. The presentation communicated the results of the baseline survey conducted prior to the workshop with the cooperation of governments in the sub-region as well as SACEP.