This is a paper presented at th recent ISWA Conference in Hamburg, November 2010.

Its purpose is to present the challenge of waste management for the emerging megacities of the developing world and transition countries and to outline major issues that have to be further elaborated in order to create sustainable patterns in waste management.

Megacities face tremendous environmental challenges and threats for human health. In this framework the role of waste management is becoming more and more crucial both for the daily life as well as for the long to medium term sustainability of megacities. The challenge of a successful waste management in megacities is one of the most demanding for public authorities and the waste management industry.

This paper outlines some of the major characteristics of megacities that substantially affect waste management activities like their rapid growth, the symbiosis of wealth and poverty, the role informal economy, governmental and institutional issues and their major role in the globalization process.

Then it focuses on how the characteristics of megacities create certain conditions and implications for waste management depending on the megacity growth profile.
Special importance is given to the role of the informal sector and the experiences related its integration to waste management systems. While there is no certain way for a successful waste management approach, there are things that must be avoided and they are presented in a Failure Receipt. Also, some generic suggestions are made on how to increase the possibilities of a successful approach.

Finally, it is proposed a view and certain questions that must be answered in order to understand how sustainable waste management can be created within the triangle megacities – globalization – waste management.

The paper can be found at


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