Applying the Integrated Solid Waste Management Framework to the Waste Collection System in Aguascalientes, AGS, Mexico
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The design of a waste collection system affects public health, the extent of participation in the system by residents, the recovery of resources from waste, and the cost of collection. Many developing countries use communal container collection [CCC] systems in which large containers are dispersed throughout neighbourhoods for the storage of waste until collection. These systems tend to have limited success as they often do not garner viable amounts of participation and containers are prone to being overfilled. The communal container waste collection system in the city of Aguascalientes, AGS, Mexico was assessed according to the Integrated Solid Waste Management [ISWM] principles of social acceptability, environmental effectiveness, economic affordability and effective management. Information was collected through seven interviews with waste-related managers, 282 residential questionnaires, and 12 informal collector questionnaires. The collection system garners a high participation rate (99%) attributed to: non-burdensome one-way distances from residences to containers (mean 114+/-71m); thorough, daily collection; and a culture of cleanliness. Factors of adherence to waste collection regulations were found to be public knowledge, social acceptability, convenience and perception of importance. The collection system was assessed by rational-intuitive consideration of all indicators and principles, to be mostly acceptable from an ISWM framework due to: a high collection rate (~100% daily) which is enabled by effective monitoring and efficient operation; a high participation rate; similarity of the resource recovery rate to that of other developing and developed countries; and long-term affordability. Areas for improvement in equality of service provision, collaboration with informal collectors, and communication were identified. Lessons learned about communal container collection are applicable to lower-middle and upper-middle income countries.