What is the state of waste management? Are there any specialized waste management concerns (ie. nuclear waste, e-waste)? Are there any environmental or human health concerns associated with waste management? How are they being addressed?
What proportion of waste is recycled? What policy provisions, if any, are in place to help curb waste (taxation, etc.)?
Honduras is currently in a mediocre state when it comes to the efficient and important issue of waste management. The country has many systems and regulations for different types of waste management, but lacks a solid base of financial and technical abilities, which we'll talk more about later. Honduras is still at a point where pollution and waste levels have not significantly impacted the population or caused any major outbreaks of disease, but struggles to maintain this status. This being said, there is still a huge amount of improvement that needs to be made for the country to get better at managing these problems in order to support healthier citizens and create a better quality of life.
As I mentioned before, there are current regulations and policies that exist in Honduras. Waste facilities do exist, and host hundreds of waste management staff workers to dispose of or recycle that waste. The only problem is that a vast majority of these Honduran waste management workers are not truly well educated about proper and safe methods of managing waste. Furthermore, many of these facilities do not utilize appropriate final treatment of the waste, posing risk to the environment and the local residents. Honduras attempts to support an effective waste management system, but lacks scientific understanding of the serious health risks and problems incorrect management can create. Financial concern is also a factor, in that the funds are provided by external sources. This prevents the waste management system in Honduras from being comprehensive, and causes it to be reliant on other stakeholders.
This problem with supplying sufficient finance for waste management is not just limited to everyday industrial waste. This problem is a factor in the management of a few different types of waste including hazardous waste and electronic waste. Hazardous waste is one of the biggest concerns Honduras should be focusing on currently. The overall flaw in the country's attitude towards waste treatment is that they treat all waste like general solid waste.
Hazardous materials are virtually the only things that have specific regulations, while everything else is looped into one category. Ther seems to be a shortage of trained waste management experts to oversee these operations. Additionally, most of the general population is not aware of many basic risks these wastes have the potential they have to cause disease, contamination, or even death. There are a sufficient number of competent enough workers to successfully process all the waste, but they need a more structural education of the scientific details of this type of work.
Electronic devices are another problem Hondurans face when dealing with their waste. When they become broken or unusable, electronic items should be disposed of in a proper place, where the potentially hazardous materials they are composed of cannot make their way into the environment. Many people in Honduras do not completely understand this, and use methods such as burning or dumping to dispose of their E-waste. This is extremely detrimental to the plants, water, or wildlife that inhabit the dump site, and can cause a myriad of health concerns and side effects for those exposed. There are currently several projects being implemented with the intent of better educating countries like Honduras, that aid the citizens on an international level. Forums are generated to help provide responsibilities of e-waste management, give experience to locals on proper methods of electronic disposal, and exchanging of information about e-waste in general.
The ratio of waste produced to waste collected and recycled/taken to a landfill is stunningly tragic. It is estimated that in Honduras, the average person produces .65 kilograms of waste per day. Multiply this with almost 8 million citizens, and you've got a lot of garbage. Sadly, a mere 28% of this waste is collected, and not even 4% of the waste makes it to a proper landfill. A staggering 52% of Honduran citizens dispose of their waste by burning or burial. Another 10% of the population leaves the trash out in the street or in bodies of water. Only 2% of citizens reportedly paid outside companies or business (on either a federal or state level) to take away their waste professionally. Some groups and companies are trying their best to combat this area of concern for Honduras.
Recycle S. De R.L. is a Honduran company created in 2007 that is dedicated to proper treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and e-waste. Since their formation, they have prevented literally tons of dangerous oil, pharmaceuticals, clinical waste, battery acid, fluorescent glass, and other harmful chemicals from contaminating the country's land, air, and soil. It is the help from organizations like these, paired with the better education of citizens about waste management and the potential hazards that accompany it, that will eventually contribute to the improvement and success over the problem of waste management in the Republic of Honduras.