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Mitigating Climate Change and Pollution from Solid Waste


  • Developing countries struggle to manage waste, leading to harmful pollutant emissions.
  • Abt helps build capacity through technical assistance, tools, and networking.
  • Cities are now better equipped to implement waste management projects that reduce emissions.
The Challenge

Cities in developing countries often lack the technical capacity, financial resources and technologies to improve solid waste management. They are often paralyzed by the rapidly growing rates at which waste is generated and needs to be disposed, and typically resort to open dumping. This has significant implications for human health and the environment, since poor management or organic waste results in harmful emissions of methane (a precursor to ground-level ozone and a potent greenhouse gas). Inadequate collection services also result in open waste burning. This leads to emissions of black carbon, an air pollutant that has significant impacts on climate.

The Approach

Since 2013, Abt Global has been assisting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in addressing climate change and air pollution in the solid waste sector under the auspices of the Global Methane Initiative. On behalf of the EPA and these initiatives, Abt provides a wide range of capacity-building support, including technical assistance (e.g., waste analyses), trainings on best practices, networking with experts and project development support.

The Results

Abt is working in several countries, including China, India, Mexico and Serbia. In each country, we coordinate with in-country partners to identify capacity-building needs, scope support activities and execute those tasks. Since 2013, we have supported more than 25 workshops and trainings, conducted numerous technical analyses and feasibility studies, produced multiple tools and resources, coordinated study tours, helped establish a center of excellence and produced a range of materials (including videos, case studies, and accomplishment reports). All of these efforts have better prepared cities within these countries to implement waste management projects that reduce methane and black carbon emissions.