Chapter 21 - Environmentally Sound Management Of Solid Wastes

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Posted by kelphead on July 10, 2001 at 19:01:08:

In Reply to: Re: Kelphead, how extensively have you travelled the planet? posted by kelphead on July 08, 2001 at 00:57:21:

taken from:


This is a final, advanced version of a chapter of
Agenda 21, as adopted by the Plenary in Rio de
Janeiro, on June 14, 1992. This document will be
further edited, translated into the official
langauges, and published by the United Nations
for the General Assembly this autumn.


21.1. The incorporation of the chapter on environmentally sound management of
solid wastes within Agenda 21 is in response to General Assembly resolution
44/228, section I, paragraph 3, in which the Assembly affirmed that the
Conference should elaborate strategies and measures to halt and reverse the
effects of environmental degradation in the context of increased national and
international efforts to promote sustainable and environmentally sound
development in all countries, and to section I, paragraph 12 (g), of the same
resolution, in which the Assembly affirmed that environmentally sound
management of wastes was among the environmental issues of major concern
in maintaining the quality of the Earth's environment and especially in achieving
environmentally sound and sustainable development in all countries.

21.2. Programme areas included under the present chapter of Agenda 21 are
closely related to the following programme areas of other chapters of Agenda 21:

(a) Protection of the quality and supply of fresh water resources (chap. 18);

(b) Promoting sustainable human settlement development (chap. 7);

(c) Protecting and promoting human health conditions (chap. 6);

(d) Changing consumption patterns (chap. 4).

21.3. Solid wastes, as defined in this chapter, include all domestic refuse and
non-hazardous wastes such as commercial and institutional wastes, street
sweepings and construction debris. In some countries, the solid wastes
management system also handles human wastes such as night-soil, ashes
from incinerators, septic tank sludge and sludge from sewage treatment plants. If
these wastes manifest hazardous characteristics they should be treated as
hazardous wastes.

21.4. Environmentally sound waste management must go beyond the mere safe
disposal or recovery of wastes that are generated and seek to address the root
cause of the problem by attempting to change unsustainable patterns of
production and consumption. This implies the application of the integrated life
cycle management concept, which presents a unique opportunity to reconcile
development with environmental protection.

21.5. Accordingly, the framework for requisite action should be founded on a
hierarchy of objectives and focused on the four major waste-related programme
areas, as follows:

(a) Minimizing wastes;

(b) Maximizing environmentally sound waste reuse and recycling;

(c) Promoting environmentally sound waste disposal and treatment;

(d) Extending waste service coverage.

21.6. The four programme areas are interrelated and mutually supportive and
must therefore be integrated in order to provide a comprehensive and
environmentally responsive framework for managing municipal solid wastes. The
mix and emphasis given to each of the four programme areas will vary according
to the local socio-economic and physical conditions, rates of waste generation
and waste composition. All sectors of society should participate in all the
programme areas.


A. Minimizing wastes

Basis for action

21.7. Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption are increasing the
quantities and variety of environmentally persistent wastes at unprecedented
rates. The trend could significantly increase the quantities of wastes produced by
the end of the century and increase quantities four to fivefold by the year 2025. A
preventive waste management approach focused on changes in lifestyles and in
production and consumption patterns offers the best chance for reversing current


21.8. The objectives in this area are:

(a) To stabilize or reduce the production of wastes destined for final disposal,
over an agreed time-frame, by formulating goals based on waste weight, volume
and composition and to induce separation to facilitate waste recycling and reuse;

(b) To strengthen procedures for assessing waste quantity and composition
changes for the purpose of formulating operational waste minimization policies
utilizing economic or other instruments to induce beneficial modifications of
production and consumption patterns.

21.9. Governments, according to their capacities and available resources and
with the cooperation of the United Nations and other relevant organizations, as
appropriate, should:

(a) By the year 2000, ensure sufficient national, regional and international
capacity to access, process and monitor waste trend information and implement
waste minimization policies;

(b) By the year 2000, have in place in all industrialized countries programmes to
stabilize or reduce, if practicable, production of wastes destined for final disposal,
including per capita wastes (where this concept applies), at the level prevailing at
that date; developing countries as well should work towards that goal without
jeopardizing their development prospects;

(c) Apply by the year 2000, in all countries, in particular in industrialized countries,
programmes to reduce the production of agrochemical wastes, containers and
packaging materials, which do not meet hazardous characteristics.

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