Waste management as a "Lifeline"? A New Zealand case study analysis
Purpose – Lifelines (also referred to as critical infrastructure) are referred to here as the essential infrastructure and services that support the life of our community. In a disaster response and recovery situation, provision of Lifelines, is essential. New Zealand has several mechanisms to improve the responses of lifeline service providers in a disaster situation, including pre-event planning and coordination groups and legislative provisions for timely response in an emergency. Currently, waste management is not formally included in either the coordination process or the legislative provisions for Lifelines. This paper aims to address whether or not waste management should be included in these.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative and semi-qualitative matrix-based assessments were used to determine the relative importance of provision of waste management services in a disaster-recovery situation.
Findings – The paper argues that waste management should be included in Lifeline planning in New Zealand. Organisational complexity in the waste management system and the likely need to expand pre-disaster waste management services to deal with large amounts of disaster generated waste, however, mean that inclusion in the legislative provisions for Lifeline service providers would be challenging.
Research limitations/implications – The research context is specific to New Zealand; however, the general challenges, principles and overall approach and may be transferable to other jurisdictions.
Practical implications – Organisational and regulatory approaches recommended in this paper, if adopted, will help waste and emergency managers respond and recover more effectively in a disaster situation.
Originality/value – This paper is the first to attempt to examine in detail the importance of waste management on disaster recovery in New Zealand. The findings of the paper are of relevance to countries with similar organisational and legal structures.