Debris & Waste

Debris & Waste

How to effectively manage debris and waste created by disasters and crisis in order to minimize health and environmental risk

Debris & Waste

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Disasters and conflicts often generate large quantities of crisis waste that can hinder humanitarian access, cause environmental contamination and human health impacts. It also tends to overload ordinary waste management systems as well as it may hinder reconstruction efforts. In combination with a deficient level of preparedness among local governments and humanitarian actors on how to handle the often sudden, widespread and mixed masses, the challenges are evident whereas accumulations of crisis waste is often seen even long after the crisis has ended. In addition to the waste caused by the actual hazard or conflict, the humanitarian operations responding to a crisis also tend to produce substantial amounts of waste, that if improperly handled can aggravate the challenges further.

Crisis waste affects several sectors of society and not the least the health, water, sanitation, and shelter sectors, likewise as it has an impact on the corresponding clusters within the humanitarian system. The planning and response to handle it thus needs to be inter-sectoral and include consultations with e.g.:

Previous experiences further indicate that a multi-sector preparedness plan for crisis waste management (CWM) can greatly improve the capacities of a local authority and concerned actors (humanitarian and development oriented) to efficiently prepare, respond to and recover from a crisis without putting the environment or people’s health at risk.

If properly prepared for CWM can also imply opportunities to e.g. reconstruct streets, pathways, buildings and public infrastructure by making use of recycled debris, as well as CWM can generate emergency employment and lead to additional livelihood opportunities, particularly related to recycling works. Not the least may CWM preparedness plans include capacity development components directed towards local authorities, with the ambition to support a more efficient and resilient waste management that takes preparedness and DRR aspects into account.

Humanitarian and Environment actors are encouraged to liaise with key national stakeholders in crisis prone areas regarding CWM preparedness planning, as well as to liaise with relevant actors in already crisis affected areas to include CWM in the response and recovery work to “build back better”, which not the least includes the alteration of environmental aspects.

The following steps form the immediate part of disaster waste management:

Resources

Guideline

Compendium of Technologies for Treatment/Destruction of Healthcare Waste

The UNEP division of Technology, Industry and Economics International Environmental Technology Centre has written a compendium which outlines the process of technology selection in the health-care sector based on UNEP's Sustainable Assessment of Technologies (SAT) methodology.

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Communication Material

E-Waste: Batteries disposal

The global battery market is estimated at USD 120 billion per year. 800,000 tonnes of automotive batteries, 190,000 tonnes of industrial batteries, and 160,000 tonnes of consumer batteries enter the European Union yearly. Proper disposal of batteries is essential because they contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and…

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E-Waste: Light bulbs and lamps

Lighting is defined as all the equipment whose primary function is to provide electric light.The global lighting market was valued at around USD 73 billion in 2011 and it is expected to exceed USD 100 billion by 2020. However, most lights contain valuable and toxic metals that may leach into…

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E-Waste

The term E-waste covers items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of reuse. This diverse and fast growing E-waste stream is often categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic metals,…

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Guideline

Safe management of wastes from health-care activities

This document highlights the key aspects of safe health-care waste management to guide policy-makers, practitioners and facility managers to provide services in health-care facilities. It is based on the comprehensive and detailed WHO handbook Safe management of wastes from health-care activities.

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Guideline

Overview of technologies for the treatment of infectious and sharp waste from health care facilities

This study, conducted in 2019 by WHO, looks at safe health care waste management, including segregation, collection, transport, treatment and waste disposal and understands that it is fundamental to wider efforts to provide quality and safe health care.

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Guideline

Asia Pacific – DWM guidelines

The Disaster Waste Management Guidelines for Asia Pacific, published by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, is developed to enhance preparedness for disasters by exchanging information, awareness and human resources during normal (non-hazard) times. The guidelines aims to provide a practical tool during a potential disaster as well as in…

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Guideline

UNDP – Guidance Note on Debris Management

The focus of the UNDP Guidance Note on debris management is to provide urgent post-crisis and post-disaster assistance. It offers practical advice to UNDP Country Offices on how to plan, design and implement short-term projects that effectively connects governments and communities in the process of assessment, clearance, recycling and management…

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Guideline

UNDP – Guidance Note on Municipal Solid Waste Management in Crisis and Post-Crisis Settings

The UNDP Guidance note forms part of a series of UNDP's signature products that aims to respond and support early recovery in immediate crisis and post-crisis contexts with practical advice and guidance to UNDP Country Offices. The objective is to provide guidance on how to plan, design and implement projects…

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Training Material

Disaster Waste Management: best practices and tools

The course, available in English, French, Spanish and Russian, seeks to provide humanitarian response staff as well as local, national, and regional government authorities with increased awareness and enhanced knowledge on disaster waste and management strategies to mitigate their environmental impact.

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Guideline

USAID sector environmental guidelines: Healthcare waste

The guidelines outline the typical environmental impacts of healthcare waste and provides options on how to mitigate or prevent these.

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Guideline

Visual Field Guide: Healthcare waste

Quick identification of serious environmental concerns in small-scale sanitation activities.

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Mission Report

Waste Management Mission Report – Dominica

A mission report covering the aftermath and disaster waste management of the two devastating hurricanes that struck the Caribbean islands in September 2017.

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Guideline

Disaster Waste Management Guidelines

These guidelines were developed with the aim of supporting the full cycle of disaster waste management, from risk reduction and contingency planning through to emergency planning response following a disaster or conflict.

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Report / Study

Faecal Sludge Management in Africa

The research paper, "Faecal Sludge Management in Africa: Socio-economic aspects, human and environmental health implications", aims to explore how current trends in faecal sludge management are impacting human and environmental health in Africa (both sub-Saharan and Northern Africa).

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Guideline

Managing solid waste: Sector-specific guidelines for the Red Cross Red Crescent

Developed as part of the RCRC Green Response initiative, these guidelines provide practical, sector specific information on how to better manage solid waste to improve emergency response operations. Key concepts and best practices in solid waste management are presented,…

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Guideline

USAID – Sector Environmental Guidelines: Healthcare Waste – Full Technical Update, 2019

Healthcare Waste - within the Sector Environmental Guidelines (SEGs) prepared for USAID under the Agency's Global Environmental Management Support (GEMS and GEMS-II) Program and Environmental Compliance Support (ECOS) Contract.

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Communication Material

UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit – Disaster Waste Management Factsheet

This factsheet describes the supporting role the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit (JEU) undertakes during disaster waste management activities.

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Case Study

Mozambique Shelter Cluster & UNDP – General strategy for risk reduction linked to asbestos cement

This strategy addresses awareness, assessment and management of asbestos following Cyclone Idai in Mozambique (2019). Drawing from the case study, the strategy provides a general outline of key steps to raise awareness; design trainings; and plan and implement safe removal, handling and disposal of asbestos in emergency situations.

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Case Study

UNEP – Managing post-disaster debris: the Japan experience

A report conducted by the UNEP regarding the international expert mission to Japan targeting the management of post-disaster debris.

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Case Study

UNHCR – Disaster Waste Recovery, Guidelines for Implementing Cash-for-Work Projects in the Waste Management Sector

The guidelines for implementing Cash-for-Work Projects (CfW) in the waste management sector is an initiative of Caritas, Action Against Hunger and the Danish Refugee Council. They provide guiding principles and criteria for implementing cfW programs in the waste management sector as a means to achieve environmental goals and improve the…

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Case Study

Case study: Philippines Coconut Timber following typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan…

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Communication Material

E-waste (batteries)

This guidance explains how to deal with batteries in operations (reduce, reuse, recycle, dispose)…

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Communication Material

E-waste (light bulbs and lamps)

This guidance explains how to deal with light bulbs and lamps in operations (reduce, reuse, recycle, dispose)…

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Case Study

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Environmental Considerations

This document links key environmental considerations to WASH projects and provides guidance for good environmental management throughout the project cycle.

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Guideline

WHO Fact Sheets on Environmental Sanitation

A WHO compilation of fact sheets and mitigating processes for water, sanitation, and hygiene education.

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Guideline

UN Environment Resource Centre – WASH

A collection of different resources on WASH and environment…

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Guideline

UNEP: Key Things to Know About Environment as “Cross Cutting” Issue in Early Recovery

This brief UN Environment note provides an overview of key environmental considerations for early recovery actors, including a short cluster-specific checklist.

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Guideline

Addendum to the OECD Guiding Principles on Natech Risk Management

The second addendum to the OECD Guiding Principles for Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response, which outlines considerations for natural-hazard triggered technological accidents.

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Case Study

PAX – Amidst the debris; A study on the environmental and public health impact of Syria’s conflict

A case study of the disastrous environmental and public health impacts due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

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