Illegal Dumping Poses Challenge for Waste Management Authorities

Waste at a landfill in Vientiane (Photo: Small Steps Project)

Illegal dumping and waste burning present a challenge to municipal solid waste management in Vientiane Capital, according to authorities.

Household waste management in the nation’s capital stands at only 27 percent, while the remaining 73 percent of households in the capital do not use municipal waste collection services.

Head of the Vientiane City Office for Management and Services (VCOMS), Mr. Bounchanh Keosithamma, spoke at a stakeholder consultation workshop in Vientiane, saying that the majority of citizens openly engage in illegal dumping and burning of garbage to avoid paying fees.

Mr. Bounchanh commented that such practices are extremely bad for public health.

Garbage Separation Bins at Nongchan Market
Garbage Separation Bins at Nongchan Market.

According to an article in the Vientiane Times, the city currently has no state-owned waste treatment facility for processing waste items including organic waste and plastics.

Without a method of separation at the source, waste is combined and disposed of together. This can cause economic losses in the waste value chain as resources are not recovered and impose pressure on the landfill.

VCOMS and various development partners plan to assist in developing Vientiane into a city where waste collection services are available to all.

Under the sustainable solid waste management strategy and action plan for Vientiane 2020-2030, access to waste collection services will be increased, while fee structures and payment mechanisms will be modified, and law enforcement and awareness-raising strengthened.

The plan allows for source separation mechanisms including distribution of proper bins, as well as material recovery and waste cycling facilities.

Informal waste pickers will be included under the plan, with social protection schemes set up to help the city coordinate.

Decentralized composting or bio-gas plants will be set up at fresh markets, hotels and restaurants, while home composting will be heavily promoted.

According to the Vientiane Times, the city has a fleet of 129 waste collection vehicles, including 59 waste compactor trucks, 52 dump trucks, 16 containers, and two trucks deployed specifically for healthcare waste.