Up until a few years ago waste management in Belize simply included collection of garbage and transportation to an open dump site where the waste was burnt. Despite recent efforts at improvement, the management of municipal solid waste (MSW) remains a challenging sector for the country.
Although about half the country is now being served by an improved MSW management system, a large portion of the population still relies on improper waste collection and disposal, with many open dumpsites still in use. Improper disposal is a threat to the environment and economy and can lead to deterioration of water, soil and air quality as well as deterioration of health of the local population and wildlife. The production of methane from landfill gas is one of the biggest threats, as this greenhouse gas is more detrimental than CO2.
Problems of waste management are often exacerbated by lack of knowledge on proper waste disposal, as well as attitudes and behavior concerning solid waste management.
The development of an enabling legal framework for waste-to-energy and community recycling program investments and implementation in the Western, Southern and Northern Corridors of Belize:
- Identify key issues for creating an enabling framework
- Recommendations for creating an enabling framework
- Identify barriers that prevent investment – key challenges and opportunities
- Conduct legislative review of policies, acts, strategies, plans that address solid waste management
- Overview of key environmental governance institutions and management mechanisms
- Review of technology options for energy recovery from waste and selection of preferred/best option
- Review of recycling program options and selection of preferred/best option
- Develop legal framework for converting waste to energy and recycling waste from the Western, Northern, and Southern Corridors of Belize using best options
- Develop environmental outreach and education program to inform public of waste-to-energy and recycling benefits
An integrated solid waste management system which incorporates recycling and waste-to-energy would significantly reduce the volume of waste that reaches landfills. Waste minimization through these processes will also lead to cost recovery, and energy generated from waste could be sold to Belize Electricity Limited. Proper recycling practices could generate new jobs. The quality of life and health of Belizeans will also positively benefit, through decreased pollution, decreased spread of diseases, and potentially increased tourism by improving the country aesthetically.