An Integrated System of Waste Management in a Developing Country Case Study: Santiago de Cali, Colombia
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The government of Colombia has implemented programs to reduce waste and manage refuse more sustainably. Knowledge obtained from the Multifamily Recycling Program (MFRP), created to address recycling in multi-family dwellings within the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia can be applicable to cities in similar countries that include active participation of recyclers, the community and private waste companies. This study adopts both qualitative and quantitative approaches, where direct field observations and face-to-face interviews were undertaken with key informants’ stakeholders in solid waste management.100 questionnaires surveys were carried out with recyclers, condo managers and residents. Condo participants were chosen as representatives of each socio-economic group (high, medium, and low strata) and were selected from all areas of the city. The MFRP was assessed according to the Integrated System Waste Management (ISWM) framework, considering environmental, economic and social aspects. Environmentally, the program aimed at reducing waste and extending the life of the landfill. Most participants (98%) surveyed, are aware of the environmental benefits generated by the MFRP, and most residents (86%) sort waste within their dwellings and prefer using grocery bags to dispose of recyclables. Condominiums surveyed (88%) have adequate room for garbage and recyclables storage. Recyclers also, receive economic benefits from all levels of government and private companies, plus recognition, support, job creation and poverty alleviation. On the other hand, (76%) of the managers and (74%) of the residents participants agreed that recyclers are not accepted as condo staff. Socially, the MFRP has benefitted recyclers and their families, with training on social, environmental and technical aspects. In conclusion, the MFRP is an excellent example of waste management planning and can serve as a model for other cities in developing countries. The goals set by the MFRP can be achieved by increasing advertising and educational campaigns; creating an entity to lead, effectively planning and permanently monitoring the program.