Document Type : CASE STUDY


Ana G. Méndez University, Virtual Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Solid waste management which entails the generation, storage, collection, transportation, processing, treatment and disposal of waste products is regarded as a challenge to many countries worldwide. The focus and methods vary in all territories given the wide range of factors which influence waste management. Small Island Developing States face unique challenges which are influenced by their peculiar physical, economic, social, political and institutional characteristic. Consequently, they require a solid waste management system tailored to their unique requirements.
METHODS: Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered between February and November 2019 from various primary and secondary sources using the following instruments and techniques: literature review of reports, news articles, legislation, journals and case studies; on-site observations; and administering questionnaires in the study area in October 2019. The study area comprised 3 communities which were representative of the waste management district, and were selected using the purposive sampling method, while the sample size of 0.3% of the households in the study area was selected randomly by administering questionnaires to anonymous respondents in arbitrary households in the communities. Using descriptive methods, data was tallied and grouped, then the content analysed to determine patterns, to answer questions to the problems and to determine relationships and themes. Findings were summarised, simplified and presented in formats such as graphs and tables and written descriptive accounts.
FINDINGS: Solid waste management affects all countries irrespective of their level of development. The focal point varies across societies. Small Island Developing States have a unique challenge posed by their particular characteristics. Given that each territory has a peculiar mix of factors, any solid waste management system derived must be exclusive to each. There is no single, ideal system which can be proposed. Whatever the system decided upon, it must encompass the socioeconomic, cultural, economic, legislative, institutional and environmental context of the territory, but most of all it must be accepted by the majority of stakeholders.
CONCLUSION: A solid waste management system must be unique to each area, given that there are many dynamic variables which affect the system. Consequently, the system derived from this study can only be applied in its entirety to the study area. Other areas with similar characteristics can lend examples from the study area.
©2021 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

Graphical Abstract

Solid waste management system for small island developing states


  • The provision of free, curb side garbage collection was a deterrent to waste reduction in many SIDS.
  • The solid waste management culture in many SIDS was affected by the fact that many stakeholders were only willing to adapt to a system which was convenient to them;
  • Solid Waste Management was unique to each territory and was dependent on the specific territorial context, therefore no particular model could be designed for SIDS;
  • A successful solid waste management system must consider all the processes in waste management but most importantly generation.


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