The environment is an important ecological, economic, and social or cultural resource that is fundamental to the sustainable development of any region and which positively impacts on the quality of life of the local residents (Nautiyal.S and Kaedrele.H; 2007). Since the last two centuries, industrialization has supported a mushrooming and voracious population and have created massive prosperity; however, this growth has often been detrimental to the environment (Daily.B.F and Huang.S; 2001). The growing up of environmental problems that is associated to the rise in production and consumption of the population have resulted to the development of sustainability (Fortunski.B; 2008). The concept of sustainability is considered as being normative since it describes the way things should be done instead of describing how they are actually being done (Byrch et al; 2007). Sustainability or sustainable development is defined as an economic pillar that sustains the needs of the present population without putting constraints on the next generations to meet their needs and is based on its three fundamentals which are namely economic, social and environmental (Sarkis.J; Meade.L; & Presley.A; 2006).
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Since Mauritius is aiming towards ‘Maurice Ile Durable’ it is very important for both private and public organizations to adopt and implement Environmental Management System (EMS). Environmental management is not only a fact of awareness or public image, but beyond that; it is the way through which the performance and competitiveness of organizations are secured (Bahmed.L; Djebabra.M & Boubaker.L; Boukhalfa.A; 2009). It is not only the duty of private or public enterprises to ensure that the environment is sustainably managed, but also the responsibility of each and every individual to adopt the good practice of managing the environment sustainably. Waste of natural resources and creation of all types of pollution are generally areas that urgently need to be considered.
Waste management is one of the prior conditions for the sustainability of any country (Schneider.D.R & Bogdan.Z; 2011). The inappropriate link between consumers’ demand for goods (and the consequence of generated waste) and the ability of the local authorities to collect and handle this waste (Cardinali.R; 2001), has resulted into a heavily disturbed environment. Solid waste is in some ways the universal pollutant. It has been present as a part of the human condition for as long as man has been a biological species. Many of the problems associated with solid waste are very similar to those of air and water pollution. They are aesthetically displeasing, they can carry diseases to man and they represent a loss of useful resources. Only recently with the concept of sustainability and the rising awareness on the consequences of ineffective waste management, that the concern of local authorities on environmental health demands that waste be managed and disposed effectively, in order to reduce and where possible eradicate its capacity to cause harm to humans, plants, animals and natural resources (Ayotamuno.M.J & Gobo.E.A; 2004).
The aim of this assignment is to analyze the extent to which municipal solid waste is sustainably managed in Mauritius.
The objectives behind this study are:
to assess the impacts of wastes and waste disposal methods on humans and the environment,
to assess how far solid waste management is leading to Mauritius Green Island
to assess the health and safety aspect in solid waste management
Waste management which has always formed part of the human society consists of waste prevention, reuse, recycling of materials, composting, energy recovery and final disposal. The mushrooming of the world’s population, increasing industrialization, improving quality of life, and developments in technology have all resulted in an increase in both the quantity and the different types of solid wastes generated by industries, households and other activities (UNEP,1991). The problems of dealing with large amount of waste materials arise specially in developing countries where these changes have not been met by developments in waste-management technologies (Wilson & Balkau, 1990). Domestic solid waste has become a health and environmental hazard in many developing countries as a result of careless handling and a failure to make arrangement for appropriate solid waste collection techniques. It is a common belief that improving solid waste management (SWM) implies making waste collection and disposal systems more efficient, raising residents’ awareness and enforcing SWM laws and regulations (Obeng.P.A; Donkor.A.E& Mensah.A; 2009).
2.1 Definition of solid waste
The term ‘Solid waste’ means garbage, refuse and other discarded solid materials, including solid waste materials resulting from industrial, commercial and agricultural operations and from community activities.
Solid waste can also be defined as “a variety of solid materials and also some liquids in cans, that are disposed as being spent, useless, worthless or in excess” (Nemerow.L.N, Gardy.A.J.F, Sullivan.P and Salvato.A.J; 2009)
2.2 Classification of solid waste
Solid waste may be classified into different categories based on the content, moisture and heating value. A typical classification is as follows:
Garbage refers to the biodegradable solid waste constituents, produced during the preparation or storage of food (meat, fruits, and vegetables). These wastes have a moisture content of about 70% and a heating value of around 6ooooookg (Rao,1991)
Rubbish refers to non-putrecible solid waste constituents either combustible (paper, wood, scrap) or non-combustible (metals, glases ceramics). These wastes contain a moisture content of about 25% and the heating value of the waste is around 15000000kg (Rao, 1991).
Solid waste can be further classified based on the source of the solid waste:
2.3 Sources and Types of solid wastes
Table 1.0 below shows different source & types of solid wastes produced
Typical locations where wastes are generated
Types of solid wastes
Municipal wastes (domestic, commercial, institutional)
Residential, open areas (street)
Food wastes, rubbish, paper
Organic wastes from food processing, metallic sludges
Crop residues, animal manure
Mining &Quarrying wastes
Energy generation wastes
Thermal power plants
Since, domestic waste, commercial waste and institutional wastes are collected and transported by similar authorities, that is the municipal council or district council, they are usually group together and called Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). Since the municipality deals only with municipal solid waste, this will be the only class of waste which will be dealt within this project.
2.4 What is solid waste management?
Solid waste management is considered as a serious matter in different parts of the world. The unexpected increase of waste production emphasizes on the necessity of a right balance in the various technological facilities for the collection and treatment of waste, taking into consideration the existing regulations, economic constraints, environmental issues and also public acceptance, (Caputo.C.A, Pelagagge.M.P and Scacchia.F; 2002).
Solid waste management can be defined as “the technical measures that will ensure respective executions of the functions of collection, transport, processing, treatment and disposal of solid waste”. The global concern about environmental health suggests that wastes be managed in an efficient manner and disposed of in an acceptable way, in order to reduce and or where possible get rid of its potential dangers that are posed to human beings and the environment as a whole, (Robinson 1986).
2.5 The need for municipal solid waste management
To understand the need for municipal solid waste management, we must first know the problems associated with solid waste. Some of the impacts of solid waste are given below:
Public Health Problems and Diseases
Improper management of solid waste has adverse effects on health. The uncontrolled fermentation of garbage creates the food source and habitat for bacterial growth. Furthermore, insects, flies, mosquitoes and some birds proliferate and act as passive vectors in the transmission of some infectious diseases.
Dumping of solid waste everywhere and failure to collect those wastes properly, not only provide rooms for the proliferation of mosquitoes and insects, but also give rise to bad smell and lead to an unsightly environment.
Uncontrolled and incomplete combustion of solid waste materials can result in the release into the atmosphere of a number of undesired air pollutants including particulate matter, smoke, sulphur dioxide and other noxious gases from the burning of plastic materials.
So, by considering the few health hazards and environmental impacts of solid waste, we can conclude that a safe and environmentally and economically sustainable solid waste management plan is indispensable.
2.6 Waste management hierarchy
The waste management hierarchy is a widely accepted order of waste management options. The European Council in its Waste Directive of 1991 sets the hierarchy of waste management options as follows:
However, for a long time, the waste management hierarchy was ordered as follows (e.g. Kirkpatrick 1992):
2.7 General solid waste management in Mauritius
In Mauritius, waste collection is undertaken by local authorities consisting of five municipalities for urban areas and four district councils for rural regions, private sectors such as Securiclean, Maxiclean, Atics among others, and the Ministry of Local Government. Collection, disposal and street cleaning are under the operational control of the Chief Health Inspector in all the five municipalities. The officer is also responsible for transport allocation and operation, including control of drivers, with the exception of Port-Louis where transport and drivers are on the establishment of the City Engineer’s department.
There exist a similar structure in the three district council in respect of management and operational transport but there, due to small labour force, employees from the government are supplemented to perform the work.
The frequency of collection with regard to domestic refuse varies from twice weekly to once monthly between local authorities. The collection of commercial or trade waste in urban and rural areas is treated as a priority and a daily service is provided.
Concerning storage, some have provided plastic bins and plastic bags to the residents. This has facilitated the collection process. All waste collected by the district and municipal council and the private contractors are disposed of directly to a dump site or to a transfer station where the waste is compacted before dumping.
3.0 List of Transfer stations and Landfill site
Table 2.0 below shows a list of transfer stations and landfill site
Start Year of operation
Securiclean (MTIUS) LTD
Curepie, vacoas, phoenix, part of Beau Bassin /Rose-hill
Securiclean (MTIUS) LTD
Beau Bassin, Rose Hill, Q.Bornes, District of Black River, P. aux Sables, La Tour Koenig, GRNW and Corommandel.
Securiclean (MTIUS) LTD
Port louis and part of the Northern Region (Ste Croix, Roche Bois, and Baie du Tombeau).
Maxiclean CO LTD
Districts of Pamplemousses and Riv. Du Rempart excluding Terre Rouge and Long Mountain Village Councils Areas.
District of Moka Flacq.
JV Sotravic Ltee/ Bilfinger Berger
Receive waste from Transfer Stations and the southern regions of the island.
3.2 Profile of the study area
Figure 2.0 – Municipalities & District Councils of Mauritius
Municipality of Port-Louis
Municipality of Beau-Bassin/ Rose-Hill
Municipality of Quatre-Bornes
Municipality of Vacoas/ Phoenix
Pamplemousses/ Riviere du Rempart District Council
Moka/ Flacq District Council
Grand Port / Savanne District Council
Black River District Council
4.0 Findings and Discussions
Figure 1.0 – Waste Management Hierarchy
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