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Impacts of social factors on the applied SWM system

Research and the results of many local initiatives to improve the environmental situation in Asian countries point to a lesser demand for increased technological investments but an increased need for a greater understanding of the social aspects and on better education, awareness and community action programs. The selection of the appropriate methods for waste management depends on the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of waste, the range of application and socio-economic conditions. Especially the latter differ in European and Asian countries to a significant degree, so that approaches implemented in Europe so far cannot be directly transferred to Asian countries. The analysis of local cultural and economic structures can serve as basis on which propositions on the adaptation of existing approaches and technologies can be made.

One of the efforts undertaken by the partners of the ISTEAC project concerned an assessment of the influence of cultural background and socio-economic conditions on the implementation of waste management methods and the transferrability of western type technologies. Subsequent to the study of literature, a joint effort was made to develop a survey instrument which could be used for the assessment under integration of the perspectives from different stakeholder levels. After a pre-test of the instrument in Viet Nam, the method had to be completely reworked but the survey guide obtained hereafter proved to be a very effective tool in the further research process.

In the end some very interesting findings were made in result of two survey exercises conducted in the Philippines and in Viet Nam [Study report]. These findings show clearly the importance of social and cultural factors for proper waste management decision-making and the need to have concerend stakeholders from all levels of society involved from an early stage in the process of policy development and problem resolution.