Obstacles and Opportunities in Planning and Implementing Integrated Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Management (ISMSWM) in Kuwait – a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Country
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The conventional municipal solid waste (MSW) management approach focuses on collection, transportation and final disposal, while at the same time neglecting the prevention of waste and recycling. The conventional approach focuses mainly on technical solutions and economic efficiency of disposal of MSW. Yet, because this approach deals with waste streams individually it is ineffective. The evolving concept of sustainable development (SD) indicates a transition from conventional systems to more integrated systems for resource management. Planning and implementing a sustainable MSW system imply the adoption of “integrated approaches” but there are gaps in the operationalization and often the social dimensions are overlooked. High-income nations continue to develop systems approaches that meet their current and future needs and ensure that both governments and residents understand the need for proper MSW management. A parallel situation does not readily apply to oil exporting high-income Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The State of Kuwait was chosen as a case study to explore the obstacles and opportunities of planning and implementing an integrated and sustainable MSW management (ISMSWM) system. Accordingly, the current study established a goal to reach beyond the recommendation of “integration approaches” to better understand and recognize how to operationalize the “integration” of an MSW management system. As a first step, a conceptual framework of planning for an ISMSWM system was developed, refined and tested. In this research, an ISMSWM framework was designed to account for integrated environmental management (IEM) approaches along with sustainable development dimensions, stakeholders’ involvement, SWM elements and approaches and Environmental system analysis (ESA) tools to address the obstacles and opportunities during planning, decision-making and operationalization of an ISMSWM system. Based primarily on post-positivist epistemology, a research framework was built upon the case study of Kuwait, employing mixed qualitative/quantitative methods that included the review of documents, key informant interviews, waste actors’ questionnaires, householder’ questionnaires and a focus group discussion which centered on the results of a life cycle assessment (LCA). Over 80% of the 65 waste actors surveyed identified a lack of coordination between responsible authorities, and 91% identified a lack of collaboration between authorities at governmental, sectoral (among MSW management responsible authorities) and public levels. Most of the waste actors also supported collaboration, a balance between top-down and bottom-up approaches, and the establishment of collaborative committees. Over 85% were also in favour of public participation in waste separation, promotion of public training programs and the inclusion of waste management topics in the educational curriculum. Widespread support was reported by the waste actors for the participation of the private sector and a decentralized approach for planning. Of the 400 householders surveyed 80% agreed to purchase fewer disposable products: to participate in activities which promote recycling; and, to separate organic waste if green bins were offered. The researcher concludes that current MSW planning relies on a top-down approach in Kuwait. Although some critical changes at the regulatory and policy-making levels have been made with the aid of international institution, the outcomes have failed to deliver tangible changes at the operational level. There is a need for an intensive willingness to change the current situation in Kuwait and build a structure by local stakeholders that adopts integrated environmental management (IEM) approaches. The adoption of a conceptual framework for ISMSWM in Kuwait would be of assistance with the implementation of IEM management approaches to promote better practices in planning, decision-making and operationalization. Based on the research findings, the developed framework could offer an opportunity for the waste actors, researchers and decision-makers for comprehensive thinking and integrative planning, decision-making, and implementation of ISMSWM for oil-exporting high-income Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries such as Kuwait.
Cite this version of the work
Alyaa AlManssoor (2020). Obstacles and Opportunities in Planning and Implementing Integrated Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Management (ISMSWM) in Kuwait – a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Country. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/16202
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