International Development Planning Review

Governing solid waste management in Mazatenango, Guatemala: Problems and prospects

International Development Planning Review (2007), 29, (4), 433–450.

Abstract

Many smaller cities in developing countries are only beginning to plan for appropriate solid waste management systems. The majority of waste management systems in developing countries fail to address residents' sanitation needs properly. In this paper, we present the results of fieldwork in Mazatenango, Guatemala, examining the problems of governing solid waste, as linked to administration, collection, handling, and disposal. The problems identified include lack of adequate funding; no formal recycling programmes at the household level; absence of a sanitary landfill; increase of illegal dumping; limited public awareness of proper waste management practices; and street litter causing a breakdown in the sewer systems. The results of the study are used to propose strategies for improved governance of solid waste, addressing the needs and priorities of a range of stakeholders. These strategies highlight the importance of strengthening relationships among the stakeholders involved in the governmental/administrative, social, economic, and environmental aspects of solid waste management. The approach may be effective in other developing country cities that are starting to plan waste management systems.

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Yousif, Dave Faris

Scott, Steffanie