Currently, world cities generate about 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year. This volume is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. Waste generation rates will more than double over the next twenty years in lower income countries. Globally, solid waste management costs will increase from today’s annual $205.4 billion to about $375.5 billion in 2025. Cost increases will be most severe in low-income countries and lower-middle income countries.
In Tunisia, Solid waste management has emerged as a big challenge and one of the priorities of environmental protection. The Mediterranean country, having an estimated population of around 11 million people, produces more than 2.5 million tons of garbage each year. Tunisia is experiencing an average increase in waste volume by 3% with per capita waste generation in urban areas being 0.8 kg per day. Biodegradable organic fraction constitutes around 68% of the MSW stream.
Given that the global impacts of solid waste are growing fast, The Minister of Local Affairs and the Environment, Mokhtar Hammami, emphasized the urging need to implement and start the execution phase of waste recovery, as research and long studies lasted almost 20 years. He later announced that the ministry will soon be launching a real initiative: A waste recovery agency will be set up within three months. Besides, there will be a waste recovery factory and several sorting centers.
He made a call for all municipalities, to take part in this initiative as a local government system to set up agencies dedicated to urban services and to benefit from loan funds in order to create landfills for waste recovery. In the same context, he stressed that these landfills will achieve large profits years after their creation, which will eventually pay off the loans. He also urged civil society to engage in such initiatives and called on businessmen to invest in these projects, which he called profitable.
Solid waste is a large source of methane, a powerful GHG that is particularly impactful in the short-term. The recycling industry, with more than two million informal waste pickers, is now a global business with international markets and extensive supply and transportation networks. Locally, uncollected solid waste contributes to flooding, air pollution, and public health impacts such as respiratory ailments, diarrhea, and dengue fever.
In a world being consumed by waste, it’s time to think of our trash in a different light. So let us all contribute to making this change impact as many regions as possible by sorting our trash and raising awareness in our communities.