Skip to content


Challenges in Countries of the Global South

Solid waste constitutes a growing challenge across the globe. A rapid increase of waste volumes in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia are a negative consequence of globalization and fast-paced economic development of emerging markets in these regions. Most low-income countries fail to address the issues and lack appropriate answers. The current situation is a result of a combination of several structural and political factors. Deficient solid waste management roots in a lack of infrastructure, insufficient investments, lack of municipal planning and execution, missing or not enforced environmental laws and regulations, and poor management of operating solid waste services. High economic growth and an increase of consumption, fueled by high population growth and urbanization, additionally contribute to the urgency and severity of the problem. Governments seem unable to cope with these issues. Moreover, efforts to facilitate solid waste management cannot keep pace with economic and demographic developments.

Challenges in Indonesia

Similar to other low-income countries, Indonesia struggles with solid waste management. Due to the country’s special geographical location and uneven population distribution, Indonesia faces additional challenges. Poor solid waste management and the archipelago’s geography make Indonesia the second largest waste-to-ocean polluter globally. In the densely populated islands of Java and Bali fragmented solid waste management systems with varying impacts and service levels exist. Next to municipal solid waste services, mostly limited to urban areas, informal recyclers and communities engage into waste-related activities. Although workers in the informal sector operate in the whole value chain, they are poorly integrated in municipal systems. Further, there is little cooperation between the informal sector and other stakeholders. The contribution of informal and community recycling in solid waste management is undervalued. The disregard of these two service providers is a major disadvantage of current solid waste management systems in Indonesia. Their integration constitutes a decisive opportunity for immediate improvements in solid waste management efforts.