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Asia's waste management failures reach crisis levels

Japan offers lessons in how to handle the challenge quickly and cost-effectively

| Japan

Asia's cities have driven the region's extraordinary growth, but they have become polluted and polluting nightmares sinking under mountains of waste. While almost the entire populations of the developed West have their waste collected and disposed of hygienically, this is far from true in many Asian economies. The percentage falls as low as 20% in poorer countries such as Pakistan and Cambodia. Collection services are best in big cities, far worse in rural areas, and rarely reach the many millions in informal settlements.

Worse still is how many Asian cities dispose of most their waste in open dumps. The result is severe pollution, disease, and urban flooding. Dumps are major generators of greenhouse gases. Mumbai's huge Deonar dump is a vast concentration of methane gas which regularly catches fire.

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