Municipal solid waste management in Minsk - current situation, future development and challenges
Abstract: Management of municipal solid waste (MSW) is an urgent issue throughout the world. Urbanization, population increase, and economy growth are all factors which contribute to an increase of MSW generation. The most common treatment method of MSW is through landfilling, which lead to a constant dissipation of resources in terms of material and energy, as well as environmental pollution and emission of greenhouse gases. A country where more than 80 % of the total amount of MSW is sent to landfills without proper standards, is Belarus. Its capital, Minsk, is a population growing city which struggles with the management of MSW. By performing interviews with important actors within the waste management sector in Minsk, this study investigates the city’s current situation of MSW management, possible future development in terms of material and energy recovery as well as barriers for such a development. The study shows that the low MSW management tariffs per capita in Belarus, together with the low costs of landfilling of MSW, are the main problems regarding the management of MSW in Minsk. Further, unreliable waste statistics, a lack of container sites within the city as well as a lack of awareness and education, also contribute to the ineffective MSW management. To improve the situation, the tariffs of the MSW management should be raised, which would allow further development. It is also essential with the introduction of a landfill tax, which would make other treatment options of MSW more attractive. The main barrier of such an improvement is the political will, since both tariffs and taxes are regulated by the government.
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