Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 35791–35804 | Cite as

Solid waste management of small island developing states—the case of the Seychelles: a systemic and collaborative study of Swiss and Seychellois students to support policy

  • Grégoire MeylanEmail author
  • Adelene Lai
  • John Hensley
  • Michael Stauffacher
  • Pius Krütli
Sustainable Waste Management


Solid waste management (SWM) is a significant challenge for the Seychelles. Waste generation, fueled by economic development and tourism, increases steadily, while landfilling continues to be the main disposal path, thus exacerbating the island nation’s specific weaknesses. Due to the small scale of the Seychelles economy, there is little capital available to stimulate innovations in SWM and generate the knowledge for setting priorities and guiding SWM action. Students from ETH Zurich and UniSey conducted a transdisciplinary case study (tdCS) to fill this knowledge gap and gain insights into the obstacles and opportunities related to sustainable SWM. The tdCS approach allowed students to gain comprehensive and in-depth knowledge about the SWM system required to set priorities for action and next steps. The government should streamline the different financial frameworks according to a clear principle (e.g., polluter pays principle). Specific biogenic waste streams represent a potential source of energy and fertilizers. Expanding the scope and densifying the network of collection points could help raise recycling rates of other waste fractions. Diverting biogenic waste and recycling more glass, metals, paper, and plastics would also significantly reduce landfilling rates. Regardless of future amounts of waste ending up on landfills, the latter must be reengineered before the surrounding environment suffers major adverse impacts. All these actions imply a government-driven approach which integrates the views of stakeholders and consumers alike.


Anaerobic digestion Landfilling Policy Recycling Seychelles Small island developing state Transdisciplinary case study Waste management 



The tdCS as teaching-research course is the first of a series of upcoming activities as part of a collaboration agreement between the Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab) of ETH Zurich’s Department of Environmental Systems Science, the University of Seychelles, and the Seychelles’ Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Climate Change. We would like to thank all the participants in the Seychelles and in Switzerland for their valuable contribution. We would like to credit the 2016 tdCS students of ETH and UniSey for their work. Special thanks go to Sandro Bösch-Pauli for his support on artwork and Cliff Gonzalves for reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Systems ScienceETH Zurich, CHN K 76.2, Universitaetstrasse 22ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Applied BiosciencesZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering, ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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