Solid waste management in least developed countries: current status and challenges faced

  • Zumar M. A. Bundhoo


Increasing solid waste generation is a major concern worldwide, with least developed countries (LDCs) particularly affected due to ineffective waste management systems. This article assessed the current status of solid waste management in LDCs from waste generation to disposal. Solid waste generation in LDCs averages 0.56 kg/capita/day while the solid waste stream consists mainly of organics (52%) followed by recyclables (26%). Waste collection is also low and due to irregular waste collection, many people in LDCs resort to illegal practices such as illegal dumping or open burning of wastes. Sanitary landfilling is almost non-existent in LDCs with some of the few landfills present severely lacking in effective leachate or gas collection systems. While recycling is carried out in some LDCs, the most common practice is to collect recyclables for exportation. Similarly, composting of solid waste exists mainly on small-scale while biogas plants present in LDCs are used mostly for treatment of animal manure. Some of the challenges faced by LDCs include lack of funding, infrastructure, legislations, knowledge, and awareness on solid waste issues. However, there is a huge potential for job creation in the solid waste management field including waste collection, recycling, composting and even sanitary landfilling.


Least developed countries Solid waste management Recycling Composting Landfilling 



The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticism. This work did not receive any grant from any funding agencies.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of MauritiusRéduitMauritius

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