Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Municipal Solid Waste Management>
|Open dumps such as this one in Accra abound in Africa.
(credit: Raymond Asomani-Boateng)
Landfills are a vital component of any well-designed MSWM system. They are
the ultimate repository of a city's MSW after all other MSWM options have been
exercised. In many cases, the landfill is the only MSWM option available after
the MSW is collected. The safe and effective operation of landfills depends on
the sound planning, administration, and management of the entire MSWM system.
This begins with an institutional and policy environment that views MSWM as an
important component in the sustainable development plans of a city and country.
It continues with MSWM regulations that are designed to protect human health and
the environment. It goes further with funding that is driven by the needs of the
system rather than by political expediency. It ends with the coordination of
MSWM programs, from waste reduction and resource recovery through collection,
transfer, and ultimate disposal, into an integrated system. This system must
provide a vital public service without compromising human health or the
Landfills range in type from uncontrolled open dumps to secure sanitary
landfills. Uncontrolled, open dumps are not a sound practice, but controlled
dumps and sanitary landfills can provide effective disposal of a city's MSW in
accordance with appropriate local health and environmental standards. This
section will present sound practices for the safe, reliable, and effective
landfilling of MSW under different local conditions.