Al-Ahram Weekly Online   22 - 28 October 2009
Issue No. 969
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Proposing an integrated system

Solid waste integrated management can be applied in entire districts and governorates, write Yousryia Loza and Ayman Moharem

This proposal takes into account the accumulated experiences of waste pickers and their operations and how to make use of them - especially after the execution of pigs - whether in waste collection, transport or recycling. It takes into account the experience of the Enhancement of Integrated Services and Waste Recycling Company in dealing with the various parties and sectors involved in Solid Waste Management in Egypt, especially the informal waste pickers. Also, as new technologies are applied for sweeping the main streets and squares, and for dealing with medical waste and other solid waste produced, this system can be applied in entire districts and governorates.

System Components:

The main features and steps of the proposed system are as follows, using 6th of October and Sheikh Zayed cities as an example.

Waste collection from houses: "household garbage collection". (Total 1000 waste collectors).

The collection will be done daily from residential units (apartments) by "uniformed" waste collectors (Zabbaleen), at an average rate of 300 units per day for each collector. They will work based on district maps that will clearly identify the squares where each collector works and the movement of the waste collecting cars.

Transferring the collected waste:

The garbage collectors will transfer the collected waste using their vehicles that will comply with the environmental standards adapted to suit the location. Funds will be required for the provision of transport vehicles complying with environmental standards. Total: 240 waste trucks.

Sweeping and cleaning streets and squares:

Main streets and squares will be swept and cleaned using modern equipment with advanced technologies, while garbage collectors will sweep and clean narrow and side streets. Maps will identify the patterns of both manual and technological sweeping for all 6th of October and Sheikh Zayed streets.

Transfer stations: (involving a total of 150 technical workers):

The collected waste is moved to intermediate "transfer stations" that should be located outside the serviced area, but less than 20 kilometers from the place of waste collection. There, the trucks are weighed to determine the amounts of waste received by the station. This is followed by an initial separation of solid wastes which are sorted using semi- automatic sorting belts.

The intermediate stations purchase the recyclable materials (plastic, paper, metal, etc.) according to the prevailing market price of the garbage to be recycled in the transfer stations. These steps will be followed by the transfer of organic waste, recyclable waste (paper, metal etc.) and the rest of the waste unsuitable for recycling and the waste for dumping to their respective disposal sites using large transport vehicles.

Waste recycling outlets, compost manufacturing, and healthy disposal site: (a total of 500 technical workers):

The collected and sorted organic matter will be converted to compost through anaerobic fermentation technologies. Concerning the sorted recyclables, recycling processes will take place according to the various types (plastic, metal, glass, paper, etc.). Medical waste will be sterilized then dumped, along with waste unsuitable for recycling. These will go to the sanitary dumping site outside the city.

Awareness Raising programs:

Conducting awareness programs to educate citizens as partners in the solid waste management system are important as they are the main stakeholders and beneficiaries of the success of the proposed solid waste system, as is conducting waste separation at source (household organic wastes and other non-organic wastes) in many of the regions according to an action plan.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

A joint committee will conduct periodic follow-up at the field level to monitor the services provided and for continuous evaluation.

Advantages of the proposed system:

The number of jobs opportunities has been calculated according to a study to implement the proposed system for waste management in 6th of October and Sheikh Zayed as an implementation example. The operation of the proposed system will provide 3224 job opportunities, as follows:

1000 Garbage collectors

240 Drivers

150 Jobs in the intermediate stations

1234 Jobs in sweeping and cleaning streets

500 Jobs at recycling outlets

100 Administrative and supervision jobs

Collection of garbage from residential units reduces environmental hazards resulting from scavengers of garbage from streets containers, and from reduced garbage accumulation in the streets.

The collection and transfer of garbage will take place in an environmentally safe manner.

The garbage collectors will collect all the waste they can collect because waste will be weighed at intermediate "transfer stations" and garbage collectors will be paid monthly depending on the number of units they serve and the quality of service they provide. The collection rate is calculated at 1.5 pounds per month /per flat and depends on amounts of waste collected. Collectors will receive extra money in case of increased garbage weight. This will ensure no accumulation of waste for residential units or in streets.

Cleanliness of streets will be boosted as a result of the non-accumulation of household garbage and the efficiency of manual and automatic sweeping processes.

Recycling of most collected waste at the Enhancement of Integrated Services and Waste Recycling Company, where more than 80% of collected waste will be recycled, ensures many job opportunities, benefits from the recyclables, and the reduction in use of many of raw materials. In addition, this will reduce the amount of waste dumped, therefore limiting negative environmental effects.

Modern technologies will be used in sweeping main streets and squares and disposing of medical waste.

The system results in cooperation with and integrating all segments of society as partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries, especially with relation to sorting of garbage at source.

Following-up and ongoing evaluation of the system takes place through a joint committee to ensure the smooth and efficient workflow.

Yousryia Loza is APE Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Enhancement of Integrated Services and Waste Recycling Company. Ayman Moharem is APE consultant.

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