South Africa Is Among The 15 Biggest Waste Generating Countries In The World


A report by the World Bank details which countries produce the most garbage every day – and where South Africa fits into the picture.

According to the report, South Africa produces 54,425 tonnes of trash every day – the 15th highest rate in the world.

However, on a per capita basis – the amount produced per household every day – this equates to two kilograms, 38th globally.

By 2025, the World Bank predicts South Africa will drop to 20th on the list with 72,146 tonnes per day, as other countries’ rates of trash generation is expected to outstrip our own.

SA is expected to maintain a per capita generation of waste at  two kilograms per day, which would place it at 40th on the list.

The World Bank defines municipal solid waste as including non-hazardous waste generated in households, commercial and business establishments, institutions, and non-hazardous industrial process wastes, agricultural wastes and sewage sludge.

Understandably, the biggest and most industrialised nations in the world are the biggest producers of waste – but the USA and China are far ahead of the rest.

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By 2025, the World Bank predicts that China will overtake the USA, and outstrip its waste generation by double (700,000 tonnes for the USA, and 1.4 million tonnes for China).

15 biggest waste generating countries (tonnes per day)

# Country Waste generated (tonnes per day)
1 USA 624 700
2 China 520 548
3 Brazil 149 096
4 Japan 144 466
5 Germany 127 816
6 India 109 589
7 Russia 100 027
8 Mexico 99 014
9 UK 97 342
10 France 90 493
11 Italy 89 096
12 Turkey 86 301
13 Spain 72 137
14 Indonesia 61 644
15 South Africa 53 425

Because of its location and a severe lack of recycling facilities, the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago – along with many other Caribbean islands – hold the top dishonour of producing the most waste per capita – 14.4kgs, more than 10 times the global average.

According to local reports, uncontrollable littering, particularly of plastics, has led to a rise in mosquitoes in the region, which has brought its own health problems.

By 2025, the World Bank predicts that the islands will reduce its waste generation somewhat, though will still lead with 10kgs per capita per day.

15 biggest waste generating countries (kg per capita, per day)

# Country Waste generated (kg per capita, per day)
1 Trinidad and Tobago 14.40
2 Kuwait 5.72
3 Antiga 5.50
4 St Kitts 5.45
5 Guyana 5.33
6 Sri Lanka 5.10
7 Barbados 4.75
8 St Lucia 4.35
9 Solomon Islands 4.30
10 Tonga 3.71
11 New Zealand 3.68
12 Ireland 3.58
13 Vanuatu 3.28
14 Bahamas 3.25
15 Seychelles 2.98
38 South Africa 2.00

Waste generation is one of the many metrics used by analysts and researchers to determine potential future problems associated urbanisation.

The World Bank noted that the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW), is growing faster than the rate of urbanization in the world, with around three billion urban residents generating 1.2 kgs of waste per day – and these levels are expected to double by 2025.

Almost half of global solid waste (46%) is organic material, with 17% being paper, 10% plastic, 5% glass and 4% metal. Alarmingly, the World Bank’s disposal data shows that only a paltry 1% of all waste gets recycled, with the bulk (59%) ending up in landfills or being dumped (33%)

Waste generation – and ineffective removal – can pose a massive risk, drawing parasites which can spread diseases, as well as cased of toxic waste, where harmful chemicals can be injected into the environment.

In April 2016, Pickitup workers in Johannesburg went on strike, leaving piles of rubbish uncollected in many parts of the city.

The situation gave rise to a rat infestation, and caused minor panic when one of the rats tested positive for the plague. While there was no outbreak, the situation highlighted the dangers of ineffective waste disposal.


Source: Business Tech

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