2.1 Policies and Legislation
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2.1 Policies and Legislation


Hi, and welcome to the
second week of modules on municipal solid waste
management in developing countries. In the second week, we will be
covering the governance aspects of the integrated sustainable
waste management framework. This graph shows a simplified
overview of the various stakeholders, and the functions in the
waste management system. In this first module, we will start
with the issues around policy making, legislation, and regulation. If you’re a lawyer, you
will really enjoy this. If you’re an engineer,
go fetch a coffee! For municipal waste governance, formulation of policies
and their translation into legislation
and regulations, are the backbone of
waste management. Policies are based on
goals and guiding principles. For waste management, the general
goals behind the policy formulation include the protection of
public health and the environment, as well as the recovery
of resource value from discarded products
and waste materials. The guiding principles in
the waste policies may vary, and may include several of
the following in this list. These guiding principles may not
necessarily be mutually consistent or compatible among each other. Hence, translating this into
instruments may require more clarification and further setting of priorities. One example is the concept
of the waste hierarchy, which highlights the most preferred
action at the top, avoiding waste, then down to the least preferred
action, of disposal in landfills. Policies and strategies
are given flesh through their translation
into legislation. But laws and regulations
and their enforcement are just one way to support
implementation of policy strategies. Other instruments for example,
that can help support implementation, are instruments of social
mobilization, or economic instruments, such as incentives or disincentives. Depending on the goal, a mix of
these instruments can be used. Typical social instruments
are awareness raising, for instance used to combat littering, or in general to change
perceptions and behavior. Also economic instruments can be
used to achieve certain policy goals. In Bangladesh for instance, the government developed
3 economic instruments: the first is tax holidays for 5 to 10 years
for all formal waste treatment facilities. Second, less important duties on
relevant waste management equipment, and third, no VAT or sales
tax on the sales of compost. All such policy instruments
are prepared or implemented by various governmental agencies. An inclusive governance
system however, seeks agreement to plant processes
and practices with all stakeholders in a participatory
decision-making process. Legislation and regulation
can be used to give effect to any aspect of a
waste management policy. Usually, the bottom line is set as to protect human health and
the environment. Here, we can distinguish
between 2 approaches, either regulate
specification or function. Let me explain this briefly. Regulating by specification
may only define, for instance, accepted technologies
of waste treatment, or define specific ways of
how a waste treatment facility must be constructed or operated. For instance, what type of landfill
liner needs to be used in landfills. The other approach is
to regulate by function, which prescribes standards to
which a technology has to perform. In the case of the
landfill liner, it is not the type of landfill
liner that is defined, but rather the required
permeability of the liner, leaving flexibility to
what technology is used. And just staying on the issue
of landfill design and operation, let me share with you this very
interesting example from South Africa. South Africa established
minimum requirements for waste
disposal by landfill, and you see the document
shown here, which facilitate the enforcement
of the landfill permitting system, as provided in the
Environment Conservation Act. The basic rule decides on
the minimum requirement, but what is interesting, is that since
site specific conditions may vary, provision is made for a defensible
flexibility in the requirements. A classification system was developed, where landfills can be
differentiated into different classes. This is the table of landfill classes. You see distinction of
2 types of landfills: general waste and hazardous waste. Then, in the class of general waste, a further classification is
based on the size of the landfill. And then, in each of these sizes, there is further classification
of leachate production, which derives from an
estimation of the factor B, which is the climatic water balance, which is the difference
between rainfall and evaporation, for the wet season of
the wettest year on record. Based on this classification, one can then
determine the requirements here shown, for instance, if the landfill
requires a responsible person, if boreholes are required, or if leachate
management or daily cover is required. Similar tables and requirements were
also developed for siting landfills, required site investigations,
landfill design, liner components, landfill operation closure and so on. These minimum requirements for waste
disposal by landfill of South Africa have been used as a
basis in other countries, for example for the
Botswana landfill guidelines, or for the standards in
Namibia and Swaziland. Another important role of
legislation and regulation is a clear allocation of authority. Legislation established
duties and authorities of appropriate government
agencies and organization at all levels, starting from the
various national ministries, down to provincial institutions
and municipal authorities. This is shown nicely if you
take a look at the municipal solid waste management rules of India, which you can google on the
internet, either the rules of 2000, or the recent draft rules of 2015. When looking at the rules of 2000, you will also see a section
specifying that slum and squatter areas need to be serviced
with waste collection. This reflects nicely the principle
of universal service coverage. Another aspect that
legislation can regulate is how a specific
waste fraction is managed. In the case of India for
instance, the rules restrict landfilling only for non-biodegradable waste, while they define specific
organic waste treatment technologies for the biodegradable fraction. What we should however not forget is
that a regulation must also be enforced, and in fact this seems to be
not so easy in many countries. This requires capacity to measure, as well as the power and
independence to then penalize. Another example of the role
of legislation is for instance to ban certain materials or
certain substances in materials. A typical example is the ban
of cadmium or mercury batteries. This example however, shows
an exciting case from Rwanda, where legislation of 2008 has
prohibited manufacturing, importation, use and
sale of polythene bags. If you ever travel to Rwanda,
you will notice that upon arrival, your luggage is screened for
plastic bags and if you have any, these are taken away and
replaced with paper bags. Also in markets, you
will only find paper bags. This ban is tough to enforce,
but Rwanda is managing quite well, and has taken up this step
mostly in the realization that they do not have the capacity, and the facilities to manage this
critical fraction of solid waste. Finally, my last example
of the role of legislation is when a specific country has
committed to some international agreement and then needs to implement a strategy to comply with this
international obligation. For instance, the Basel Convention on the Transboundary
Movement of Hazardous Waste, or the Kyoto Protocol for
greenhouse gas emission reduction. This example from Bangladesh
shows the wide range of policies, rules, acts and so on,
affecting solid waste management. This also shows the complexity of
the legal and institutional matrix, and maybe that is why we
have so many lawyers worldwide, but what I want to
highlight here, in this context, is that Bangladesh has
developed one specific strategy, which guides the country to fulfill
the global climate mitigation efforts: the National Clean Development
Mechanism strategy of 2005. We will talk more about CDM and
greenhouse gases in later modules. Now, let me summarize the
key issues of this module. We have talked about how
formulation of policies and strategies, and their translation into
legislation and regulations are the backbone of waste management. All policies and strategies start
with a clear definition of goals, and are based on certain principles
that we as a society want to adhere to. Regulation and enforcement,
although important, are however not the only
instruments to implement policies. As shown in this graph, there are
also instruments of social mobilization or economic instruments, like
incentives or disincentives. Then we also looked at some
examples from across the world. In a legal and regulatory framework, it is crucial to define the roles and
responsibilities of all stakeholders, for instance of the different
levels in agencies in government. However, not only legislation must be
clear, it must also be enforceable. This requires adequate legitimacy,
political support, skills, and institutional capacity
and respective financing.

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