Global Partnership on Waste Management

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Submitted by Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainable Development

(Note: The Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainable Development did not prioritize areas of capacity building)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Municipal solid waste
2. Healthcare waste
3. Waste plastics
Highest priority areas of capacity building
Narrative summary
Guinea-Bissau (Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainable Development)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show that a number of different issues have to be tackled regarding waste management. Waste regulations, in particular those of MSW, are obsolete and unable to address streams such as organic and plastic waste. A variety of different institutions are potentially responsible for waste management, and their efforts will need to be coordinated. The responses also emphasize the fact that in the country, waste management issues are often inseparable from economic and social problems. Industrial waste has not been well managed due to industrial decline, while public awareness campaigns on waste management presuppose literacy and education. Waste management is thus inextricably linked to wider efforts towards development.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
MSW management is ranked as the highest priority waste stream in Guinea-Bissau. MSW management is regulated by municipal laws dating from the colonial era; regulations urgently need to be updated. More recent environmental laws are not enforced efficiently, partly due to a lack of economic capacity: funds are needed for the procurement of equipment for all types of MSW. The area of scientific and technical capacity thus also requires strengthening. Existing understanding of and equipment for fundamental waste management concepts such as collection, characterization, transportation and disposal is rudimentary and inadequate. Waste management is also linked to other areas of priority in Guinea-Bissau, such as high illiteracy rates preventing sound public awareness of environmental problems. Clarifying the roles of institutions such as the Mayor, the Ministries of Environment, Health, Social Infrastructure, Finance, as well as banks, would improve the efficiency of efforts.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste management is ranked as a very important area of capacity building for Guinea-Bissau. Regulations for healthcare waste management, such as the hygiene law and environmental framework law, exist but are not enforced adequately due to a lack of economic capacity. There is a lack of funds to attract skilled healthcare workers and procure technological equipment for healthcare waste segregation. Healthcare sector workers, as waste generators, are generally unaware of waste management issues. Responsibilities for healthcare waste management should be better organized, with better coordination among institutions such as the Ministries of Environment and of Health. Consequently, healthcare waste is often found among MSW.

Waste plastics
The management of waste plastics is also seen as an important area for capacity building in Guinea-Bissau. Waste plastics are only managed as part of MSW and do not have specific regulations of their own; the waste stream needs to be specifically tackled by legislation. The effects of dioxins and furans in waste plastics are understood; however technical guidelines for treatment and disposal are still lacking. The management of waste plastics also needs to be implemented within local communities; public awareness of waste segregation is low, while coordination among responsible governmental institutions is poor. Capacity-building across all areas will require a source of funding, especially in the enactment and enforcement of specific waste plastic regulations.

Industrial waste
According to the responses, industrial waste is not well managed in Guinea-Bissau due to the lack of concerning legislation. As the industrial production of the country has fallen due to political and military discord beginning in 1986, industrial waste has not been well-regulated. Industrial waste is also imported into Guinea-Bissau, necessitating management and prevention.  The country would benefit from a source of funding to acquire waste collection equipment. It would also benefit from the introduction of a policy framework to deal with industrial waste management, including the maintenance and management of technological equipment. Many stakeholders and responsible institutions exist with regard to industrial waste and they could be better coordinated, while areas of authority should be clearly delegated.

Hazardous waste, including e-waste
In Guinea-Bissau’s environment and environmental evaluation laws, there are only limited and vague references to hazardous waste and e-waste. Regulations do not exist specifically and independently. Legislation is therefore an area of capacity building for Guinea-Bissau. Technical and financial capacity for the treatment of hazardous waste and e-waste is also poor. Public awareness of the risks of hazardous waste needs to be improved. Finally the coordination among institutions and stakeholders, including the private sector, should be strengthened.

Organic waste and waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
These waste streams are not mentioned and generally managed as part of MSW. This shows that capacity building in this area can also be made. The introduction of such technologies as composting and the conversion of WAB into energy sources into Guinea-Bissau may be beneficial given that agricultural produce is the country’s key export.