Solid waste

Environmental Impact of Municipal Solid Waste Management


Municipal solid waste management includes gathering, processing, and getting rid of solid trash that has been disposed of because it is no longer needed or serves its intended purpose. Unsanitary conditions, pollution, and disease outbreaks can result from improper municipal solid waste disposal. The preservation of both the environment and human health depends on proper solid waste management. For integrated municipal solid waste management, strict adherence to waste management hierarchy systems is required. Waste minimization and reduction are essential elements of efficient municipal solid waste management. 

Challenges of municipal solid waste management include:

  • Lack of leadership and responsibility
  • Lack of waste management expertise
  • Insufficient funds or budget is available for the proper development of infrastructure (landfills), landfilling management, and operations.
  • Illegal dumping of municipal solid wastes on the river banks or the roadside
  • Poor servicing of municipal solid wastes collection vehicles
  • The poor state of infrastructure and the lack of adequate funding militate against the optimization of municipal solid wastes disposal service 

Cause of municipal solid waste management 

One of the biggest sources of solid waste contamination is residential and domestic waste (Municipal Solid Waste). The garbage from these locations contains consumer products such as plastic, paper, glass, leather, cardboard, metals, ash, and electronic waste. Every year, the world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste.


Solid waste management solutions

The 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

The 5 R’s of zero waste are a framework for how we should handle waste in our lives. 

Refuse: Say no to products or services that are harmful, wasteful, or non-recyclable. For example, refuse plastic bags, straws, and disposable cups. 

Reduce: Use less of the products or resources that you need. For example, reduce your water and energy consumption, and buy less packaged food. 

Reuse: Use the products or materials that you have more than once, either for the same or a different purpose. For example, reuse your water bottle, clothes, and furniture.

Repurpose: Transform the products or materials that you have into something new and useful. For example, repurpose your old jeans into a bag, and your wine bottles into candle holders. 

Recycle: Turn the products or materials that you cannot refuse, reduce, reuse, or repurpose into new products or materials. For example, recycle paper, plastic, metal, and glass.



Municipal solid waste management is an essential service provided by city governments to maintain human health and the environment. It includes recycling, incineration, waste-to-energy conversion, composting, or landfilling. Landfilling for solid waste disposal is preferred in many municipalities globally. Improper disposal of municipal solid waste can create unsanitary conditions, pollution, and outbreaks of disease. Minimizing and reducing waste is a critical component of effective urban solid waste management.

Assefa Tesfaye Hailu


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