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Waste (Solid)

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Management of solid wastes and sewage are the subject of Chapter 21 of Agenda 21, which recognized that "environmentally sound management of wastes was among the environmental issues of major concern in maintaining the quality of the Earth’s environment … " (Agenda 21, para 21.1).

As considered in Chapter 21, solid wastes include all domestic refuse and non-hazardous wastes such as commercial and institutional wastes, street sweepings and construction debris and, in some countries, human wastes. Hazardous waste is frequently intermixed with other waste, posing particular management challenges.

Chapter 21 was considered by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its second, sixth, and seventh sessions. Within the framework of the Commission’s multi-year programme of work, it was also taken up at the eighth session in the context of "integrated planning and management of land resources."

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, Governments reaffirmed the importance of solid waste management. They called for priority attention to be given to waste prevention and minimization, reuse and recycling. They also called for the development of environmentally sound disposal facilities, including technology to convert waste into energy.

The Commission will next consider "Waste Management" in its fourth cycle, 2010 to 2011.

For additional information, see the UNEP waste management website.