Integrated Community Based Solid Waste Management project
- For the first time in Egypt, an Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy has been elaborated, approved by the Government (Qalyubeya Governorate) and applied for implementing concrete measures. As Khosoos city is one of the centers for recycling of valuable material from waste by informal workers (Zabaleen), they play a core role in this strategy. Several initiatives took place: Zabaleen, created companies and collect waste on behalf of the District; Informal workers recollect with motorized tricycles in the narrow streets and bring it to a newly constructed transfer station; Zabaleen work on an Integrated Recycling Resource Center (IRRC), separating recyclables and Refused Driven Fuel (RDF) used by the cement industry. An additional initiative is doing the same but manually and got a contract with fixed prices from the industry. Complementary awareness campaigns have been implemented and access to health care
- significantly increased.
- The measures are in accordance with the:
- a)National Solid Waste Management Strategy (being developed)
- b)Local Solid Waste Management strategy as part of the project (2012)
- c)The initiative serves many SDGs:
- Goal 1:End poverty in all of its forms
- Goal 3:Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages
- Goal 7:Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 8:Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Goal 9:Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable Industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 10:Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Goal 11:Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 13:Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- In Egypt, more than 21 million tons of municipal waste is generated yearly with an annual increase of 2%. 1 There are no sufficient resources and capacities to manage waste in an effective and environmentally sound manner. Integrated waste management approaches are increasingly focusing on the recovery of the valuable resources that exist in waste. In Egypt, there is a long standing tradition of informal recyclers (Zabaleen) recovering resources out of waste. However, this is usually done under extremely poor and unhealthy working conditions and with a high rate of child labour. Within the above context, the idea of the project was initiated. It focused on designing an integrated community based solid waste management project in the cities of Khosoos and Khanka in Qalyubeya Governorate where 750,000 inhabitants live, with a focus on improving the living and working conditions of 20,000 informal waste collectors and recyclers residing in this area. The project is complex with several interlinked goals.
Goals of the Initiative
- This application focuses on an initiative aiming at improving the collection of waste in the city of Khosoos. It assisted the informal waste collectors to formalise themselves through one NGO and three private sector companies and supported ten of the poorest collectors with motorized tricycles for waste collection. The initiative constructed a transfer station within the neighborhood, where the informal waste collectors can transfer their waste. It was equipped with three trucks and ten containers to deliver the waste to the next landfill. Several complementary measures were implemented to build better awareness of the inhabitants.
Parties and Partners to the Initiative and Resources Used for Implementation
- The initiative involves public private and community partnerships. Cooperation between informal waste workers and the responsible entity for SWM – the Governorate- has been created through official contracts. The transfer station is publicly owned and operated. The initiative focused on NGOs and schools and students to build awareness.
- The project was implemented by GIZ /PDP in partnership with Qalyubeya Governorate through a fund by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) with a total amount of USD 5 million. The transfer station had a budget of about USD 420,000. The motorised tricycles had a budget of USD 30,000. Formalisation measure required technical and managerial support from PDP. Teachers and students volunteered time and resources to undertake awareness campaigns.
Innovation for the Initiative
- The initiative is considered revolutionary. In the local context using moto-tricycles instead of donkey carts increased the efficiency of the system. The construction of a modern but simple transfer station helped to dispose waste on the landfill instead of on an empty lot or in the Nile river. Schools were main partners for the awareness activities since they are excellent catalyst for positive behavioral change. This is considered revolutionary although awareness campaigns are evolutionary by nature.
- The empowering and formalisation efforts of the informal waste workers and their integration in the waste collection system were new within the context of Khosoos. It has benefited from few initiatives in Cairo Governorates. The concept of a designed and well operated transfer station is novel to Egypt, with very few examples, however it is well recognised worldwide.
- Transfer stations are being considered in the National solid waste management strategy framework in Egypt. The integration of the informal sector is promoted by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and is being piloted in some areas in Cairo. Qalyubeya Governorate started the planning of an additional transfer station.
- 4. Describe whether there was or are any obstacles or resistance to the innovation and if so, how were/are they being overcome.
Obstacles and Solutions to the Innovation
- The forging of the partnership between the Governorate and the informal collectors required mediation and efforts to build trust.
Outcomes and Assessments
- The main outcomes of the initiatives included
- ·Income of the marginalised and most needy informal waste collectors’ households has been increased.
- ·Collection workers have been formalized; empowered, better integrated and their negotiating powers enhanced.
- ·Working conditions of informal waste operators improved.
- ·Transfer station reduced duration of one collection tour by approximately 50% and capacity of existing waste collection increased.
- ·Reduction of illegal dumping on the outskirts of the city by collection vehicles and hence reduction of health hazard & environment contamination.
- Overall the sustainability of the measures is one important indicator since the transfer station has been constructed in 2014. Operations started in beginning of 2015 and are still on-going. The Qalyubeya Governorate as the owner of the transfer station is responsible of the monitoring of operations including waste received in tons by using a weigh bridge.
- Nationally, the Qalyubeya experience serves as a model for the national solid waste management strategy and is now sought for replication. Locally, the initiative creates livelihood opportunities for the urban poor in Khosoos and Khanka cities and improves the overall environmental conditions for creating a better living environment.
- The transfer station was designed according to the local needs with access to informal waste collectors. Specific training has been delivered on the maneuvering of the trucks with container and the operation of the transfer Station, The initiative provided institutional and technical support to the newly formalised informal waste collectors and supported them to negotiate their contractual agreement with the governorate.
Benefit to Other Cities
- The initiative was based on an integrated approach. After sorting the recyclables mostly in the backyards still a considerable amount of waste is dumped on empty lots within the living areas or beside streets and rivers, creating significant risks for the health of the inhabitants and for the environment. The narrow streets between the housing blocks and the lack of adequate recollection equipment of the Government didn’t allow its evacuation during long periods. Taking this into consideration, the informal waste collectors neglected by the official system and their efforts unrecognized. By foramlising this group, now 80 percent of the collection in the city is undertaken by them through formal contracts with the city council. There is also a “poor of the poor” group among the informal waste collectors who suffer most from the lack of financial and technical capacities to improve their working and living conditions. Small informal waste collectors are subcontracted by major contractors and owners of private companies to collect waste from households, commercial units and or public markets and are paid humbly. They are collecting waste mostly manually or using donkey carts. Separation of waste is mainly done in the backyards and within the workers’ direct living environment. The initiative aimed at enhancing the waste collection system in the city, while improving the livelihoods of these groups and making them an integral part of the waste management
- system. These efforts were supported by investing in sustainable waste management structures “transfer station”. Awareness was a corner stone to the success of the system and it relied heavily on schools. The project worked with a total of eight schools in both cities. Environmental guardian groups were established in schools from students to advocate participation in environmental related activities especially issues related to waste. Capacity building seminars and workshops were conducted for both students and teachers to instruct them on simple paper recycling techniques. Activities focused on employing art to deliver environmental messages and students’ creativity was unleashed with the support of specialised artists.