Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
Environmental factors, linked to solid waste management, that can cause or contribute to humanitarian needs or affect humanitarian activities include climate – temperature, humidity, rainfall; flooding; ground and surface water. Variation in these factors affects the demand for and complexity of waste management services.
Flooding rivers often transport and deposit materials, including existing solid waste, and creating new solid waste, that then needs to be cleaned up to avoid problems such as creating new vector breeding sites and health problems in nearby populations. Strong wind and storms can also spread rubbish and debris, including from open solid waste piles.
Severe weather conditions may combine with other environmental conditions to generate waste. For example, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes often create large quantities of debris that need to be managed.
When launching a waste management project, it may be necessary to develop a locally valid classification of waste, taking into account different views of women and men regarding what materials are considered waste and what categories of waste are in use in local discourse and practice. In order to maximize the quality and efficiency of waste management services, it is important to know the needs and challenges of women.
For example, are women-owned enterprises able to generate a high work volume to pay for the higher investment to introduce new technology for recycling?
Do women have equal access to the necessary training?
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Impact on wellbeing / mental health
Air, soil, and water pollution from improper solid waste management; disease spread; visual intrusion; unpleasant odor. Potential blockage of drains and water courses.
Potential disease spread from improper handling, management/treatment of food waste.
Potential to reduce solid waste and pollution and build community or commercial-level recycling-based livelihoods.
Waste disposal frequently causes environmental impacts. These can be reduced but typically include air, soil, and water pollution; disease spread; visual intrusion; unpleasant odor, and potential blockage of drains and watercourses which may result in flooding.
There is potential for disease spread from improper handling, management/treatment of food waste.
Waste reception sites
Waste collection services
Deposit return schemes
Payment for high-value waste
The provision of safe waste reception sites will reduce waste dumping and burning and increase waste sorting, separation, and safe disposal. This should be supported with the provision of effective sustainably funded waste collection services together with providing households, businesses, and institutions with waste bins for separating different waste streams.
Uptake can be increased through a process of sensitisation/community awareness-raising, and further strengthened by using incentives to sort and separate waste, such as bottle deposit-return schemes. Reducing, reusing, repurposing, and recyling waste should be encouraged at source and again at waste reception sites. This can be strengthened by providing realistic payments for valuable waste such as metals.
The UK has reduced this impact over time through a combination of promoting recycling, reducing packaging, campaigning to change public behaviors, increasing taxation on waste taken to landfills, as well as undertaking environmental impact assessments to fully understand the potential impacts on natural resources, rivers, air, soil, and groundwater, and then developing plans to avert or substantially reduce these potential impacts.
Decrease in solid waste dumped on land or in water courses
Decrease in solid waste burning
Increase in recycling
Prevention of environmental damage
Time, resources, training, support to ensure effective provision of safe waste reception sites; waste collection services; waste bins; incentive schemes; waste recovery schemes.