The Waste Hierarchy: A Strategic, Tactical and Operational Approach for Developing Countries. The Case Study of Mozambique

The Waste Hierarchy: A Strategic, Tactical and Operational Approach for Developing Countries. The Case Study of Mozambique

K. Ferrari R. Gamberini  B. Rimini 

Department of Sciences and Methods for Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

30 September 2016
| Citation



Waste management in Europe is shaped by the waste hierarchy, which guides the legislation and policy of the Member States. This hierarchy applies the following order of priority: (1) prevention; (2) preparing for reuse; (3) recycling; (4) other recovery; (5) disposal. The wide acceptance of this principle in Europe comes from a yearly developed pathway that should not be exported to other countries without consideration of the local framework. Poverty is widespread in most African countries, with the majority of the population surviving on less than 2 US dollars a day and the average waste production per capita being about half the quantity produced in Europe. However, municipal solid waste management is still inadequate throughout the region, with open waste burning and dumping being the only method of disposal in enormous cities. These in turn arise without any planning or basic infrastructure such as roads, sewers or waste landfills. We used the case study of Mozambique to define a strategic, tactical and operational approach for the implementation of the waste hierarchy and to customize it to the local situation. Like other African countries, the major weaknesses in the performance of waste management are the poor legal framework, the lack of institutional structures and the ineffective and poorly coordinated initiatives of the international stakeholders. We propose an interpretation of the waste hierarchy in order to compensate for local deficiencies and to define a local framework for the policy makers whereby prevention is no longer a priority in the short term, in order to stress the awareness and the collection. These are consolidated steps of waste management in industrialized countries but which still pose a challenge in developing nations.


developing countries, disposal, Mozambique, recycling, reduction, waste hierarchy, waste management


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