By: Ben Matthews
Summary: Waste production and management is an increasing large issue in many urban areas around the world. For example, Brazilian communities collect over 216,000 tons of trash every day. A large portion of that trash ends up in unsanitary landfills which fail to protect the surrounding soil and groundwater. Another consequence of open landfills is methane emissions, a greenhouse gas generated by decomposing trash which contributes to global warming. These open dump sites can also place nearby community members at risk for disease. Brazil’s solid waste is estimated to generate the equivalent of over 47 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Carbon financing can help improve Brazil’s waste management by incentivizing landfill improvements. Landfill operators must agree to specific requirements involving a yearly reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Each milestone achieved is rewarded with a payment through the program, and under-performing could result in an interest rate increase. Methods used to reduce emissions are improved infrastructure and treatment of methane gas. The World Bank partnered with CAIXA, one of Brazil’s largest public banks, to create a program that improves the country’s carbon finance by connecting landfill improvements and emission reductions to financial investment. This has incentivized the improvement of landfills in Brazil which has a positive result for the environment and local communities. These landfills can also take the extra step of generating electricity from collected methane. With the possibility of turning trash emissions into electricity, it makes landfill investment much more appealing. Investing in landfills can help maintain environmental stability with the bonus production of electricity.
Why we should care? Mismanaged waste can harm the environment and its inhabitants. Methane emissions contribute to global warming. Investment in landfills helps maintain environmental stability and has the bonus of electricity generation.
It blew my mind to see how much waste is produced on a regular basis. And how a large portion of that waste is not properly managed, causing threats to the environment and people. The World Bank, an international development organization, works to improve economies and the standard of living of the people in the participating countries. I love the fact that by investing in landfills you can also help the environment and the locals. And introducing advancements in technology to better understand the field is fascinating. These sorts of innovative partnerships and solutions are what will lead us into a cleaner future.
Science in Action.
Antonis Mavropoulos is President/Chair of the International Solid Waste Association.
Antonis Mavropoulos acts as the president of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) and has been in the waste management sector for over 20 years. He has participated in writing several books and scientific publications and worked on more than 150 projects in 20 countries. He is also the founder and CEO of D-Waste, a waste management consulting company with the goals of easy access and cost-effectiveness. It’s people like Antonis who innovate to provide better solutions who will bring us to a cleaner future. Some of his most recent research deals with globalization, megacities, mobile apps and the internet of things.