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
Waste reduction incentives

Waste reduction incentives


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

Potential to reduce solid waste; air, soil, and water pollution, and disease spread.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Communities, institutions, and households can be supported and incentivized to change their waste management behaviors. This will lead to reductions in air, water, and soil pollution; visual intrusion, odors, health hazards, and impacts on flora and fauna.


Summary of environmental activities

Deposit return schemes.
Trade-in schemes
Recycling schemes.
Polluter fines.
Fines or laws against using polluting items.
Phased outlawing.
Preferential supplier agreements.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Waste reduction can be encouraged through a combination of awareness-raising, education, laws, incentives, and penalties. This includes awareness-raising on the importance of reducing waste; deposit return schemes for bottles, bags, containers, etc; introduction of trade-in schemes e.g. for appliances, vehicles, etc; provision of recycling schemes and communication about their success. This should be supported with the introduction of “polluter pays” penalties or fines and introducing fines or laws against using polluting items e.g. single-use plastics. Incentives can be used at a local or national level such as subsidies or trade-in schemes for cars, bikes, lorries, and household appliances. Whilst these may appear to be beyond the economic reach of developing country governments, emerging evidence from some countries suggests that even a short-term well-advertised scheme leads to a large uptake, which significantly increases suppliers’ revenues. This increase in economic output may be a sufficient benefit or arrangements for a temporary increase in taxation to recover the costs of the scheme may be possible. Such schemes are more successful if accompanied by a well advertised phased outlawing of older or polluting vehicles and appliances.

Preferential trade agreements with suppliers who reduce packaging and waste and make waste recyclable or compostable are another way of incentivizing waste reduction.


Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Many countries have outlawed the use of single-use carrier bags. Many are now outlawing the use of single-use plastic straws and coffee cups. This is starting to reduce some sources of solid waste that also contribute to disease spread.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Percentage of waste reduced

Take-up of incentive schemes

Activity status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time and resources for awareness-raising and setting up or supporting deposit return, schemes, trade-in schemes, recycling, polluter fines, laws, supplier agreements.

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