Evaluating Citizen Attitudes and Participation in Solid Waste Management in Tehran, Iran

Article excerpt

Introduction

As municipal solid waste (MSW) problems become more complicated, waste policies also become more numerous and complex (Eriksson et al., 2005; Henry, Yongsheng, & Jun, 2006). In the past 30 years, MSW decision making in many countries has also undergone significant change. Earlier MSW management (MSWM) was installed primarily for choosing collections systems or for determining transportation or transfer of solid waste. For example, in the 1970s, the goal of the MSWM model was simple and narrow, aimed at optimizing waste collection routes for vehicles or transfer station siting (Su, Chiueh, Hung, & Ma, 2007). In 1980s, the focus was extended to cover MSWM on the system level, minimizing the total economic cost (Shmelev &r Powell, 2006). After the 1990s, as MSW policies became more complicated, the factors to be considered also increased; hence, several MSWM models with deeper analysis emerged. The factors considered in MSWM models were mainly economic (e.g., system cost and system benefit), environmental (e.g., air emissions and water pollution) and technological (e.g., the maturity of the technology). Three models have played a major role in the decision making of MSWM: life cycle assessment (LCA), multiobjective programming (MOP), and multi-criteria decision making (MCDM). Many researchers used LCA and MCDM to evaluate the environmental impact of the alternatives for MSWM (Fiorucci, Minciardi, Robba, & Sacile, 2003; Srivastava, Kulshreshtha, Mohanty, Pushpangadan, & Singh, 2005; Tanskanen, 2000). Multiobjective programming is a popular method for solving MSWM problems, such as locating sties and choosing management strategies (Rathi, 2006).MCDM, which is aimed at choosing the best among several alternatives by considering many criteria, is also widely used. Many techniques are available for solving environmental problems with multiple criteria, including the AHP method (Javaheri, Nasrabadi, Jafarian, Rowshan, & Khoshnam, 2007), outranking methods (Su, Chiueh, Hung, & Ma, 2007), and fuzzy methods (Karavezyris, Timpe, & Marzi, 2002; Nie, Huang, Li, & Liu, 2007). It was not until recently that societal acceptance and public participation became significant in the MSWM models (Abduli, Nabi Bidhendi, Nasrabadi, & Hoveidi, 2007; Junquera, Angel del Brio, & Muniz, 2001; Massoud, El-Fadel, & Abdel Malak, 2003; Mongkolnchaiarunya, 2005).

Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the environmental impact of solid waste in Iran (Abduli & Nasrabadi, 2007). Consequently, solid waste management has become a remarkably important issue. Solid waste comprises a wide range of materials and comes from a variety of sources. Having a population of about 10 million (about 1/7 of Iran's total population), Tehran is among the most populated capitals in the world. With 22 different districts, this city generates approximately 7,000 tons of municipal waste per day that culminates in 2.5 million tons annually. If a reduction strategy on the waste stream is not implemented, this huge amount of waste will be buried in Kahrizak (the exclusive landfill site of Tehran). Land and underground water resource degradation in the vicinity of the landfill site--as well as epidemic disease outbreaks that were obviously observed by the researchers in the area surrounding the site--may be considered as alarming warnings for further catastrophic consequences of uncontrolled waste dumping. In this study, the current composition of Tehran's generated waste is analyzed. Accordingly, some practical recommendations are made in order to reduce the waste stream load directed towards land.

Furthermore, this study evaluates the degree to which people are concerned about the fate of the waste they generate. Using the data gathered from people's views on how much they participate in implementation of integrated waste management functional elements, the researchers could then work with local community, organizations, NGOs, etc. …