A lack of waste management system has a direct health impact on residents, particularly children:

  1. The uncontrolled burning of waste creates toxic emissions that cause lung diseases and skin and eye conditions.
  2. Accumulated waste encourages mosquitoes to breed, resulting in the spread of cholera, dengue fever and other infectious diseases.
  3. Vermin such as rats and dogs are attracted to piles of waste, causing a nuisance and spreading disease.
  4. When livestock (especially pigs) eat human or solid waste that contains disease and antibiotics, they contract the disease which builds up antibiotic resistance (for example, the Ebola crisis which emerged in Sierra Leone in 2013).
  5. Uncollected waste blocks drains and increases the risk of flooding, which can kill people either by floodwaters or the diseases that follow (e.g. cholera).
  6. Uncontrolled dumpsites, and in particular the mixing of hazardous and other wastes, can cause disease in neighbouring settlements as well as among waste workers.
  7. Waste dumping can contaminate surface and groundwater with pollutants and waterborne diseases, leading to malnutrition and stunting in children.
Waste dumped by households is readily washed into drainage channels when the heavy rains come (Accra, 2016)

Waste dumped by households is readily washed into drainage channels when the heavy rains come (Accra, 2016)

All of these reasons are compelling on their own, but taken together they show the power of waste management to improve sanitation.

By sharing knowledge about the importance of waste management, and simple steps like separating organic material to make a compost fertiliser, we can make a big difference. What’s more, by collecting waste and separating it properly into the different material streams, people can make a modest living by selling on to brokers – or doing the recycling themselves.

image: Trocaire [CC 2.0]

Children that grow up in areas with no waste management suffer from disease, stunting, and poorer economic opportunity

All of the techniques that WasteAid promotes are affordable for poor communities, and bring many benefits:

  • Streets are cleaner and people are healthier and stronger
  • There is less vermin and fewer mosquito breeding grounds
  • People, especially young people and women, have a new opportunity to make a living
  • Children grow up in a healthier environment
  • Local businesses are attracted to an area that is clean, improving the local economy and access to services

Waste management: it’s not rocket science but it makes a huge difference.

Please support WasteAid UK – even just £5 a month will help us make a significant impact. Click here to donate today.

Sustainable Development Goals that link waste management with sanitation

3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination

6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution [and] eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials …

12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

At WasteAid UK we know that you can’t have a healthy community without waste management. Click here to donate today.

More on this topic:

WasteAid UK Associate David Lerpiniere discusses the importance of waste management for flood prevention here.

WasteAid UK Associate Brian McCarthy talks about the massive global health dangers posed by poor waste management here.

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