The Case of Brazil’s Municipal Solid Waste Management

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Abstract

The disposal and treatment of solid waste have been global concerns, especially regarding urban areas. Many people debate the balance between economic development and environment protection. Sustainability is always an issue which attracts attention from not only researchers but also from governmental organizations and the public, either in developed or developing countries. How do the public in developing countries perceive sustainability? Taking the city of Porto Velho in Brazil as an example, this article analyzes the perception of local residents on the management of municipal solid waste to inform governmental decision-making on sustainable practice. Using a sustainability indicator matrix, this study investigates local people’s perceptions of sustainability issues regarding municipal management of solid waste. It identifies key issues including residents’ awareness of sustainability and their attitudes toward municipal solid waste management. Local residents are generally aware of the importance of solid waste management and know about selective waste collection and recycling in general. The findings suggest that, although they are not satisfied with current policies and waste management practices in this regard, local residents want to contribute positively to a sustainable waste management system and that a collaboration between stakeholders, including residents, industries, governments, and researchers is required to remedy current problems such as lack of information and failures in policy implementation in municipal solid waste management.