Cost estimation for solid waste management in industrialising regions - precedents, problems, and prospects
The importance of cost planning for solid waste management (SWM) in industrialising regions (IR) is not well recognised. The approaches used to estimate costs of SWM can broadly be classified into three categories – the unit cost method, benchmarking techniques and developing cost models using sub-approaches such as cost and production function analysis. These methods have been developed into computer programmes with varying functionality and utility. IR mostly use the unit cost and benchmarking approach to estimate their SWM costs. The models for cost estimation, on the other hand, are used at times in industrialised countries, but not in IR. Taken together, these approaches could be viewed as precedents that can be modified appropriately to suit waste management systems in IR. The main challenges (or problems) one might face while attempting to do so are a lack of cost data, and a lack of quality for what data do exist. There are practical benefits to planners in IR where solid waste problems are critical and budgets are limited.