Waste Management: Background Research


Waste management is defined as the collection, transportation, disposing or processing, monitoring and managing of waste materials (Lemann, 2008). It relates to materials produced by human activity. The process is undertaken to minimize their effect on the environment, health or aesthetics. Waste management is a unique activity with the aim of resource recovery whose objective is to delay the rate of intake of natural resources. All waste products, whether liquid, solid, radioactive or gaseous are categorized within the remit of waste management. These activities can differ for developing and developed nations, for rural and urban, and for industrial and residential producers. Managing non-hazardous waste, institutional and residential waste in metropolitan regions is normally the duty of local authorities, whereas managing non-hazardous industrial and commercial waste is normally the duty of the generator on the assumption of international, national or local controls.

Waste management is the main business component in capability to maintain the accreditation of ISO14001. Organizations need to better their environmental effectiveness every year by removing waste through sustainability related practices. One method to achieve this is by changing from the waste management to the resources recovery activities such as recycling materials like food scraps, glass, cardboard and paper, metal and plastic bottles.

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Organic recoverable goods, like food scraps, plant material and paper waste products may be recovered by digestion and composting processes in order to decompose the material of organic nature. The final organic matter is then recycled as compost or mulch for landscaping or agricultural purposes. More so, waste gas like methane that comes from this process can be trapped and utilized for generating heat and electricity therefore, maximizing efficiencies. The main aim of biological processing in the management of waste is to manage and speed up the natural process of organic materials decomposition.

Another significant method of managing waste material is the prevention of creation of waste product, which is also known as waste reduction. Methods of avoiding the creation of waste material include broken items repairing instead of replacing them with new ones; reusing second-hand products; designing reusable or refillable products for instance using cotton shopping bags instead of plastic ones; removing any liquid or food remains from cans; encouraging customers to avoid the use disposable goods for example disposable cutlery; as well as  designing and packaging goods that make use smaller amount of material to attain the same aim such as, light weighting of drink cans (Goldman, 1986).

Methods of waste collection show a wide variation in different regions and countries. Domestic collection of waste is often offered by private organizations or by local authorities. In some regions, more commonly in not developed countries, waste collection systems do not exist (Kumar, 2009). Whereas waste transport within a given country is regulated by the government, trans-boundary transportation of waste is frequently subject to international agreements. A key concern to numerous countries around the world is the hazardous waste. Approved by 172 countries, the Basel Convention regulates the  hazardous waste movement from more to less developed nations. The support of Basel Convention has been included into the EU regulation of waste shipment. However, considered hazardous, nuclear wastes do not fall under the regulation of the Basel Convention.

The waste management sector has been hesitant to approve new technologies, for example, packages of integrated software which ensure better quality information is collected, manual or estimation data entry and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Currently, technologies such as RFID tags are being utilized to gather information on presentation rates for curb-side pick-ups. Integrated software packages are now useful in data collection for use in optimization of activities for waste collection process. According to Vaughn (2009), the significance of tracking is specifically seen when taking into consideration the ad hoc pick-ups effectiveness, such as  dumpsters or skip bins where the waste material collection is done upon consumer’s request.


An Minh is a costal district located in Kien Giang province. It is known for the typical fertile flood plains that cover the entire Mekong Delta. In addition, it contains mangrove forests. These are key breeding grounds for various animals and protect the inland areas from the harsh coastal weather. Protection and reforestation these mangrove forests is a major priority for the government (Catling, 1992). 

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The An Minh district is divided into communes. These communes are not organized into villages with a typical cluster of buildings or housing. Although they are densely populated in the centre, the houses spread out along the banks of the waterways and canals that criss-cross the An Minh district. Agricultural fields and rice paddies are located  between the canals. Housing units are located along the banks of the canal to provide more space for agricultural use. The canals provide the main routes for transport in the district since boats are the key form of transport for both the goods and people. Therefore, it is easy for anyone to access goods for most domestic needs from the boats along the canal. Some basic services are also provided from the boats. For instance, local dentists have a floating practice. Narrow roads are also available for pushbikes and motorbikes that run in between the rice paddies and along the canals. Ferries and narrow bridges are used for transporting goods and people from one side of the canals to the other.

The officials of the commune assert that most of the people who face huge challenges in the region are families that do not have land for food production and income earning. They are forced to sell their labor to earn a living (Hoang, 2010). The people believe there are no key environmental issues yet, as all the bad, waste and problems are washed into the sea. This is a huge problem to the recycling process. More so, lack of proper information about recycling by the locals has also caused recycling problem. In addition lack of funds to built recycling plant by the locals has caused recycling problems. Usually, the region has six months of rainy season. During this season, people are apt to to clean water. During the six months of dry season, water sources are normally salty. In some cases, the dry season is longer than the wet season and vice versa. The authority in this region considers increased production and livelihood development for families as top priority on its agenda. The government is also concerned about issues affecting the environment and climate change.

Previously, it was easy to fish in this region. One did not need to feed the shrimp, fish and shellfish. However, currently there are less shellfish, fish and shrimp as they are dying due to the changing quality of water. The weather patterns have also changed, with the wet season coming earlier and being longer and water levels rising. Therefore, families are forced to raise their floors. People do not have much information about the rising sea levels and this makes the, susceptible because they do not know how they can protect themselves. Some people grow trees for protection. Never the less, this is not strong enough to protect them from strong winds (Kumar, 2009).

Almost every family in the village owns a mobile phone because landlines are too expensive. Electricity is accessible to all but it is more costly in rural areas than in urban region and they charge more KiloWatts than what is utilized. More so, the locals are billed for the wire and connection before they can have the actual access. The community receives information from the radio or television, but the officials of the commune also visit the villages frequently and give updates about storms and other disasters. Most people in the community dispose their waste materials in a pile and burn it. Nevertheless, some of the people dispose their waste material into the river hence causing pollution (Hoang, 2010). In some instances, people come in boats to buy recyclable waste materials, mostly bottles. However, they do not collect plastic bags for recycling. Cooking is more often than not done with gas bottles stoves. However, in some cases open fire fuelled by charcoal and wood is used.

At the centre of every commune is the public address system. The l public address is the key method that the government uses to communicate with people. The daily announcement contains new information, news, warnings weather and information. The government of Vietnam has prioritized some activities that will help in ensuring effective waste management practices. These practices include:

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  • Rehabilitation of mangrove forests in the coastal region and creation livelihood model to deal with climate change
  • Treatment of waste material for hospitals
  • Treatment of waste water for the Rach Gia city and the other districts
  • Afforesting the area to raise the coverage so that  protection of the environment and coping with climate change is ensured
  • Dealing with environmental pollution in residential region 
  • Creating livelihood for the community with water hyacinth knitting, handicrafts and straw mushroom models
  • Conservation of biodiversity of rare animal genetic sources
  • Creation waste management programs in the community 

Preliminary statistics indicates that, HCM City and Ha Noi are the largest sources of solid waste material despite having only twenty four per cent of the country’s population. The two cities produce more than six million tones of solid waste material yearly. This accounts for fifty per cent of the amount across the nation. Nguyen Tan Dung, the Prime Minister, approved a strategy to deal with waste management, which outlines particular plans to the year 2025 as well as general expectations up to 2050 (Kumar, 2009). Under the plan, any individual or organization releasing waste into the environment that lead to pollution must be punished by paying for the damages. By the year 2025, all cities should have a solid waste recycling plant and all households should also sort their waste.

To avoid pollution, all solid waste materials from the urban region and non-toxic plus toxic industrial solid waste material will be collected and then treated. 90 per cent of solid waste materials from construction and ninety per cent of solid waste material from rural residential regions will be collected and later treated. Making use of plastic bags at commercial centers and supermarkets will be minimized by eighty five per cent in comparison to the 2010 figure. More so, the plan also focuses on the need to recycle and reuse. The plan also states that solid waste treatment complexes will be constructed at key economic centers across the nation (Catling, 1992). Policies governing management of solid waste will be advanced during that period. The observation system and database on solid waste material will be established. Cholera, sore eyes, diarrhea, typhoid, dermatological and respiratory diseases can occur as a result of exposure to solid waste. The plan also focuses on raising public awareness about issues concerning the environment and establishment of a fund to finance the recycling of solid waste materials. The government also encourages the scientific research that focuses on the reuse and recycling of waste material. It has joined forces with nongovernmental organizations to educate the locals about recycling waste materials.

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