Solid waste management is a common, as well as a primary, environmental concern for many cities in developing countries. Despite the fact, Surabaya City, the second largest city in Indonesia with a population of three million, has successfully reduced its waste generation by more than 20% over a short period of time. The city has intensively promoted composting practices by setting up more than a dozen composting centres and distributing thousands of compost baskets to residents, and has actively involved residents and community groups in waste reduction activities by co-organising a community cleanup campaign with local NGOs, private companies and the media. It is worth mentioning that the amount that the city has spent for a series of activities was only one to two percent of the total solid waste management expenditures. Surabaya’s achievement exemplifies how a city can reduce a large amount of waste in a few years by primarily targeting organic waste, which usually makes up more than half the amount of municipal solid waste, and mobilising internal resources, mostly its residents, community groups, NGOs and private companies. In fact, similar practices have been adopted in some other cities, which have resulted in similar waste reduction achievements. This paper exemplifies how Surabaya’s success was achieved by highlighting the economic feasibility and significant environmental benefits of composting practices and thereby strongly recommends local governments to adopt similar strategies by targeting organic waste first.
IGES/Kitakyushu Initiative Policy Brief #1
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