United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Mr. Chairman,
I thank the panelists for their very enlightening presentations.
Mr. Chairman,
As a result of inefficient methods of consumption, waste management is
becoming a nightmare for urban authorities in many developing countries. But
the good news is that much of the waste is solid organic waste that decomposes
quickly. However, before decomposition and absorption into the environment,
usually the waste causes serious environmental and health problems.
New forms of chemical waste are also posing new management challenges in our
urban centers. Plastic shopping bags are deceptively cheap and convenient to use
but they have become very expensive to mange as a waste product.
In Uganda this is becoming unsustainable and posing serious environmental
concerns for humans and animals as well as the soil. The solution is to ban the
import as well as local production of those bags. We have found that providing
alternatives and limiting consumption can be another way of saving on the cost of
waste management.
Mr. Chairman,
After having listened to various presentations and statements yesterday and
today, it is now clear that for many developing countries, lack of resources and
infrastructure make the adoption of sustainable practices difficult to implement.
Waste management in terms of reuse and recycling is a very expensive venture
for urban authorities while recycling is a necessary component for the success of a
waste management system. Establishment of recycling systems remains a big
challenge owing to the relatively high cost of the initial set-up and maintenance.
However, having the establishment in place is not always a guarantee. For
example, urban water and sewage systems can be a source of serious public
health hazards if not managed and maintained properly.
The other point is that much of the more difficult to mange waste in developing
countries is actually waste products from developed countries that are past over
through imports of used products into developing countries. This is true for
electrical and electronic products.
The export of these used products is actually an indirect way of waste
management in those countries. This may be regarded as ?disguised waste
transfer?. The panelists may wish to give us their views if they think the solutions
to this problem can be found in new international measures to regulate this type
of disguised waste export? Perhaps the introduction of global trade in recyclable
materials can also provide another opportunity for dealing with this problem in
developing countries.
Mr. Chairman,
I would like to conclude on a very positive note. In Uganda, efforts to transform
abundant agricultural wastes into useful products by farmers, is a good example
of best practices that can be shared. Agricultural wastes are treated using cheap
methods and technology that are developed locally to turn the wastes into energy
sources in the form of charcoal briquettes. These briquettes are then used for
smoke-free and pollution-free cooking while at the same time reducing the need
to cut down trees for firewood. This is environmentally clean and can be
sustainable in most developing countries.
I thank you.