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Mitigating Climate Change and Pollution from Solid Waste


Highlights

  • Developing countries struggle to manage waste, leading to harmful pollutant emissions.
  • Abt helps build capacity through technical assistance, tools, and networking.
  • Cities are now better equipped to implement waste management projects that reduce emissions.
The Challenge

Cities in developing countries often lack the technical capacity, financial resources and technologies to improve solid waste management. They are often paralyzed by the rapidly growing rates at which waste is generated and needs to be disposed, and typically resort to open dumping. This has significant implications for human health and the environment, since open dumping of waste results in harmful emissions of methane (a precursor to ground-level ozone and a potent greenhouse gas). Inadequate collection services also result in open waste burning. This leads to emissions of black carbon, an air pollutant that has significant impacts on climate.

The Approach

Since 2013, Abt Associates has been assisting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its role as a lead partner in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Municipal Solid Waste Initiative and the Global Methane Initiative. On behalf of the EPA and these initiatives, Abt provides a wide range of capacity-building support, including technical assistance (e.g., waste analyses), trainings on best practices, networking with experts and project development support.

The Results

Abt is working in several countries, including China, India, Mexico and Serbia. In each country, we coordinate with in-country partners to identify capacity-building needs, scope support activities and execute those tasks. Over the past year, we have supported approximately a half-dozen workshops in these countries, conducted technical analyses, produced multiple tools and resources, coordinated study tours, helped establish a center of excellence and produced a range of materials (including videos, case studies, and accomplishment reports). All of these efforts have better prepared cities within these countries to implement waste management projects that reduce methane and black carbon emissions.