In Ecuador there is poor coverage of solid waste collection in Ecuador: only 49% in large cities and basically none in rural areas. Only 30% of the waste generated is properly dealt with, which has led to seriousl health problems for the people. The remaining 70% is dumped into bodies of water, streams, and vacant land. The main cause of this waste problem is the lack of infrastructure and efficient services.
This situation generates serious problems that affect the quality of soil, water and the environment in general, especially in environmentally sensitive areas (groundwater recharge areas), areas of high ecological diversity (swamps, marshes, wetlands, tropical forests, etc.), ecological reserves and national parks. Inadequate waste management is a public health issue, given the proliferation of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases especially for people working in inhumane conditions in underground landfills.
The rules and regulations governing the management of the waste in Ecuador are incomplete, ambiguous and sometimes unknown. Each municipality interprets and carries out waste management with little government support. The population does not participate in the key decisions on their collection systems and toilets, and the lack of environmental education of authorities takes away from their credibility.
For these reasons we have worked in Ecuador since 2004 on a management model that consists of a strategy in association with small municipalities, through Empresas Municipales Mancomunadas de Aseo Integral (EMMAI). This model, which has also been used in the provinces of Guayas, Manabi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Cañar and Oro, is built on three pillars: the solidarity to promote development, solid waste management, and a better service with lower cost and greater efficienty.
WHAT DO WE WANT TO CHANGE?
We want to help reduce environmental risks of solid waste in Ecuador through the creation of Empresas Municipales Mancomunadas de Aseo Integral (EMMAIs) and training of municipal technical expertise to ensure sustainability and replicability of the improvements.
Through the implementation of various activities, we're getting the municipalities that we work with to provide a quality service: reducing the overall costs of waste management in order to allocate these saved funds to social investments in the areas of intervention.
We also want to strengthen local capacity and improve the working conditions of workers involved in the management of toilet waste: eliminate illegal child labor in illegal dumps, create jobs, promote the participation of women in the created jobs and existing spaces.
We also want to reduce the damage to the environment (pollution, landscape, diseases, etc..) and the proliferation of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases in the population.
Finally, we want to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and the recycling of more than 60% of the waste produced to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and mitigate climate change.
WHO DO WE WORK WITH?
Alliance for Solidarity works in Ecuador in partnership with government agencies, public enterprises and organizations of civil society, as the involvement of different entities is critical to the success and continuity of the actions in the future.
Currently, we work with the EMMAI Advertise Basin (EMMAICP-EP), and the Patate EMMAI Pelileo (EMMAIT-EP), the EMMAI Bucay, Cumandá and Pallatanga (EMMAIBCP-EP), the People's EMMAI Cañari ( EMMAIPC-EP), the EMMAI Jubones Basin (EMMAICJ-EP), as well as the National Coordinator of EMMAIs (CONEMMAI).
Much of the work in this area counts on funding from Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) and Ecuadorian public funds channeled through municipalities and ministries with which we collaborate.