Solid Waste Generation and Determinants


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Waste management has over some time now been a challenge not only in Sri Lanka, but also globally. There is however disparities in generation so far as rural and urban areas are concerned. It is generally perceived to be an urban issue due to the population and purchasing power of urban dwellers. Sri Lankans generate approximately 0. 62 kg of solid waste per day on average (Visvanathan. C & Trankler. J, 2003).

This rate varies depending on the income levels of individuals and households as well as on the degree of urbanization of settlements. Low-income households, for instance, generate half a kilogramme of garbage per day while high-income groupsaverage nearly double that (Asian Institute of Technology, 2004). Having studied the solidwaste management patterns in the Pinga Oya environs (Harispattuwa, Akurana, Pujapitiya and Patha Dumabara) in Kandy suburbs, came out with a linear function to explain per capita waste generation (in grammes) in terms of weekly expenditure on food, where every rupee of additional expenditure would be associated with 0. 142 grammes of additional solid waste generation (Mahees et al. 2011).

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Colombo, the commercial capital and the most urbanized city, is the largest producer of waste in Sri Lanka (N. Bandara, 2008). Waste consists of all end used material that an urban society can no longer use economically and must be discarded in some way, so that it will not harm environment. Thus, Waste Management is an integral part of urban environment and planning of urban infrastructure to ensure a safe and healthy human environment (Visvanathan. C & Trankler. J, 2003). Consequently, many countries have established several Waste Management strategies within their local authorities in order to mitigate health and environmental issues of household waste. Equally, Household is a growing problem in urban areas of Sri Lanka and this problem is aggravated due to absence of proper waste management systems at local authorities (Central Environment Authority, 2005). Waste management status in Sri Lanka is unsystematic (Bandara. N. J. G. J & Hettiaratchi. J. P. A. , 2010).

There is no uniform framework within each Municipal Council, Urban Council and Pradesiya sabhas towards Household Waste Management. Hence, most of systems are not operating. Waste management has always been part of human society and its study reveals a wealth of details over the way of life it results from. Waste management consists of waste prevention, reuse, material recycling, composting, energy recovery and final disposal. Today, unlike in previous historical periods, this covers a very wide variety of materials, activities, industrial sectors and actors.

A typical feature of the current reality is too often the lack of involvement and feeling of responsibility of the generator of waste for its fate. For example, in the Western World, too few households are concerned by their municipal solid waste beyond the regular and barely noticed visit of the garbage truck. The same holds true for some companies. It is therefore essential, for an efficient waste management, to develop and maintain a sense of Responsibility and a good common understanding of the materials and operations involved whole range of actors concerned, leaving the door open to the use of common sense.

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