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.

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VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH)
Solid waste management
Solid waste management
Transferring to a collection point

Transferring to a collection point


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

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.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

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?



Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Soil erosion
Visual Intrusion
Cultural acceptance
Impact on wellbeing / mental health

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Air, soil, and water pollution from improper solid waste
handling and transfer; disease spread; visual intrusion; unpleasant odor. Potential blockage of drains and watercourses.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Waste transfer has the potential to create environmental impacts. Waste may be dropped during waste transfer; may be improperly piled so it is dispersed by the wind; it is often transferred in open-topped vehicles where it falls or is blown from vehicles, causing local pollution.

Unintended waste dispersal can lead to air, soil, and water pollution, harboring disease vectors leading to disease spread as well as visual intrusion, unpleasant odor and potential blockage of drains and watercourses.


Summary of environmental activities

Provision of waste transfer points

Waste separation incentive schemes

Deposit return schemes

Waste recovery schemes

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

The provision of waste transfer points will encourage and enable the collection, transport, and safe sorting and disposal of waste at volume.

This can be supported by introducing incentive schemes for households, communities, businesses, and institutions to encourage behavior change to sort and separate waste at the household level or at waste transfer points. Introducing deposit return schemes for bottles, cartons, tins and other re-usable items can be used alongside waste transfer to reduce the volumes of waste and increase recycling. Payment for valuable waste such as metals within electronics, mattresses, disused vehicle components, broken appliances can be provided at waste transfer points to increase separation and recycling.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Municipal solid waste reflects the culture that produces it and affects the health of the people and the environment surrounding it. Globally, people are discarding growing quantities of waste, and its composition is more complex than ever before, as plastic and electronic consumer products diffuse. Concurrently, the world is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate. These trends pose a challenge to cities, which are charged with managing waste in a socially and environmentally acceptable manner.

Effective waste management strategies depend on local waste characteristics, which vary with cultural, climatic, and socioeconomic variables, and institutional capacity. Globally, waste governance is becoming regionalized and formalized. In industrialized nations, where citizens produce far more waste than do other citizens, waste tends to be managed formally at a municipal or regional scale. In less-industrialized nations, where citizens produce less waste, which is mostly biogenic, a combination of formal and informal actors manages waste. Many waste management policies, technologies, and behaviors provide a variety of environmental benefits, including climate change mitigation. Key waste management challenges include integrating the informal waste sector in developing cities, reducing consumption in industrialized cities, increasing and standardizing the collection and analysis of solid waste data, and effectively managing increasingly complex waste while protecting people and the environment.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Percentage of waste transferred

Activity status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time, resources, training, support to ensure effective provision of waste transfer points; household incentives; deposit return schemes; high value waste purchase / recovery.

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