International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Waste -- Management, Plastic Pollution
Global plastic production continues to increase at an exponential pace, and global waste projections show waste generation rising by 70% by 2050. Plastic waste connects to all social processes, especially within the context of urbanization and development; urban planning and land management; GHG emissions; labor; social equity; public health; rural-to-urban migration; increasing population; increasing consumption; climate change; etc. The focus of this research is an analysis of plastic waste management practices in Sri Lanka applying systems thinking, with a goal to better understand the social and ecological impacts of plastic waste in Sri Lanka. This research fills a gap in understanding the complex social dynamics that factor into plastic management, beyond the engineering of waste systems. The researcher works from the assumptions that waste is a social issue, that requires social responses that move beyond engineering and linear waste management; that designing a better or more efficient linear solid waste management system for the current realities of waste generation will only result in a continued, unsustainable waste system; and that plastics are truly a global challenge, relevant for global south contexts, and these challenges require local-appropriate solutions. The findings illuminate the network of local waste stakeholders, and highlight paths forward in waste reduction through patterns of behavior, structure, and mental modes that can lead towards a sustainable future for Colombo.
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Locate the Document
Conlon, K. (2021). A social systems approach to sustainable waste management: leverage points for plastic reduction in Colombo, Sri Lanka. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2020.1867252