Ciudad Saludable along with its local partner ECORED commits to support the integration of waste pickers to the formal sector through the launch and implementation of five solid waste management projects in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Four of these will take place in Dominican Republic cities of San Pedro de Macoris, Samana, Villa Altagracia, and Santo Domingo Este. In Haiti, a Project will be launched in the municipality of Ouanaminthe. These projects will organize and strengthen environmental institutions to solve the inefficient solid waste management system. Ciudad Saludable's model is based on the improvement of the working and living conditions of waste pickers by developing micro-enterprises, strengthening waste pickers' capacities, and creating a market for recycling materials.
Ciudad Saludable will engage local institutions interested in solving waste management issues in three ways: 1) Knowledge transfer and local adaptation of Ciudad Saludable model to local conditions; 2) Assessment and plan formulation, including solid waste characterization studies, information gathering, workshops, training for local waste management leaders and waste pickers, formalization of waste pickers, pilot program design, partnership development with private sector; and 3) Implementation of pilot program, monitoring and evaluation.
In addition, Ciudad Saludable and ECORED commit to strengthen the national roundtable on recycling by providing advice on the local regulation related to solid waste management promoting the social and economic inclusion of waste pickers.
Prior to the activities listed below, Ciudad Saludable will transfer its model through a series of trainings and knowledge transfer activities towards key stakeholders in the solid waste management system.
The planned activities for each municipality are the following:
Phase 1: 2013 / 2014
a. Assessment of current conditions of solid waste management, including a solid waste characterization study.
b. Training for waste pickers, municipal functionaries, and personnel.
c. Formalization and provision of equipment to waste pickers.
d. Development of integrated solid waste management plan and pilot program design considering segregation of waste at source of origin, selective solid waste collection, and sensitization campaigns for households and businesses.
e. Development of business ideas/opportunities to add value to recyclable materials.
Phase 2: 2014 /2015
a. Implementation of solid waste segregation and collection at source of origin program with the participation of formalized waste pickers. The pilot program will reach at least 12,000 households per municipality.
b. Establishment of business partnerships to perform waste auditing of companies, waste segregation and collection by waste pickers.
c. Implementation of waste recycling center for formalized waste pickers.
d. Monitoring and report of results (annual operational plan, comparison to baseline, social return of investment analysis).
Solid waste management is an important issue in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti having negative consequences over individuals and the environment. According to the 2010 National Census for the Dominican Republic, the population of approximately 9.4 million produced an average of 1.2 kg of waste per person per day reaching a total of 11,000 tons of waste generated on a daily basis. Out of this, 90% ended up in the 380 nationwide waste dumps. Between 20 and 30% of waste dumped is recyclable, and attracts waste pickers that are looking to make a living off separating materials. For example, the Duquesa waste dump where approximately 40% of all national waste is dumped, attracts more than 700 waste pickers (80% of them are undocumented Haitians). Many waste pickers at this dump work with their children under deplorable conditions that make them vulnerable to accidents and illnesses.
Haiti presents similar, if not worse, conditions where exposure to waste is at the core of most of Haiti's health problems; posing a daunting national challenge. Waste breeds bacteria that cause diarrhea and hepatitis. Used syringes injure untrained and ill-equipped waste collectors and other residents also spread diseases, including HIV. These diseases are fatal in many instances, and children are particularly vulnerable. As a result, the costs associated with treating diseases are substantial.
Ciudad Saludable is seeking media support to promote waste segregation and effectively reach large number of citizens. Since, the success of the project is directly associated with community participation in segregating their solid waste at source level, media campaigns of great importance for the success of its integrated solid waste management model. This will help increase the number of people who separate their waste (organic vs. inorganic) and thus, the amount recyclable materials waste pickers are able to collect. Ciudad Saludable is also looking for partners that are interested in committing further financial resources.
Ciudad Saludable offers its knowledge of best practices to become implementing partners. Ciudad Saludable has a proven model of integrated solid waste management that can be replicated in other communities around the world. Ciudad Saludable can share written material about its innovative approach of integrating waste pickers, civil society, government, and the private sector to solve the challenges that are associated with waste management.