The urbanization of developing countries and the growth of spontaneous settlements are taking place on such a scale that national and local governments cannot cope with the demand for decent shelter conditions. At the city level, this is most noticeable in the sphere of infrastructure. Services often fail to reach new low-income areas, while existing municipal services rapidly deteriorate.
A municipal service that seems to fail most strikingly is waste collection. This is likely to be seen as a problem of inadequate means of transport, as tar as the municipality is concerned. This training module aims at showing that a reorganization of waste-management procedures, including community participation, is more likely to provide durable solutions than purely technical approaches.
Many municipalities see solid-waste management as a problem of equipment: how to obtain and maintain technologically advanced compactor trucks, hydraulic-compressor containers, transportable containers and transport vehicles. In developing countries, with insufficient technical services, spare parts and maintenance budgets, when such technically sophisticated equipment breaks down the entire system fails.