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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Solid waste management

Solid waste management is the process of handling and disposal of organic and hazardous solid waste which, if unattended appropriately, can pose public health risks to the affected population and can have a negative impact on the environment. Such risks can arise from the breeding of flies and rodents that thrive on solid waste (see Vector control section) and the pollution of surface- and groundwater sources due to leachate from mixed household and clinical or industrial waste. Uncollected and accumulating solid waste and the debris left after a natural disaster may also create an ugly and depressingenvironment, which might help discourage efforts to improve other aspects of environmental health. Solid waste often blocks drainage channels and leads to an increased risk of flooding, resulting in environmental health problems associated with stagnant and polluted surface water. Waste pickers, who gain a small income from collecting recyclable materials from waste dumps, may also be at risk of infectious disease from hospital waste mixed with household waste.