Integrated Solid Waste Management options in the Mediterranean

on 06 December 2011.

The objective of the latest national training course held in Ramallah on 22-24 November 2011 under the Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/ Mediterranean Environment Programme, was to increase the trainees’ understanding of the complex and multidimensional challenges of Integrated Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) and develop their skills to allow for appropriate decision-making on ISWM options with emphasis on appropriate technologies and methodologies.

The training was launched by the Deputy Chairman of the Environment Quality Authority, Mr. Jameel Mtour who welcomed the trainees emphasizing that “The objective is to incorporate the information provided by the Horizon 2020 trainings in our day-to-day work. We need to move speedily towards the integration of sustainable waste management in Palestine. This is the huge challenge”. Elaborating on the main issues, Mr. Yakobi of the EU delegation stated: “The institutional challenge is the prevailing one in integrated management; to take into consideration the needs and roles of all stakeholders, individuals and institutions. And we hope that this training will help towards this end”.

The workshop succeeded in bringing together 23 high level representatives of the different stakeholders and pin-pointing the main problems of waste management in the area. Solutions to address the most critical issues ranged from improved analysis and planning regarding technology needs for waste collection and recycling, the organization of municipal waste services, awareness raising programs and finally methods of improved financial recovery.

A site-visit organized on the second day, including Ramallah Municipality, 2 schools, the main dumping site of the city and the premises of the Environment Quality Agency, illustrated the solid waste management efforts in the city of Ramallah. During the site-visit, the trainees had the opportunity to acquire first-hand experience of on-going efforts in waste management education and the organized educational programmes in elementary schools involving microclimate projects, composting and education on general environmental principles. The trainees also visited the non-sanitary landfill located in the vicinity of the city centre. The urgent need for alternative solutions, as the landfill has reached full capacity, was discussed thoroughly, taking into account the application of the waste hierarchy. Finally, the trainees visited the Environment Quality Agency, where the Deputy Chairman presented the roadmap towards an Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy.

To encourage the active involvement of all participants, a pre-workshop assignment was requested of the trainees, while the sessions included lectures, presentations, working groups, audiovisual materials, quizzes and exercises as well as discussions and debates.