Why is waste management of concern? Why would a politician choose to give it priority? Why has UNEP chosen to prepare this Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO)? This introduction aims to provide a concise overview which answers these and similar questions. Chapter 1 and Chapter 6 in combination provide an extended summary of the GWMO.
The chapter begins by looking at the public health and environmental consequences when wastes are not collected and managed properly. The first priority is to bring wastes under control (1.1). But that on its own is not enough – it is also necessary to move from waste management in a linear economy to resource management within a circular economy (1.2). Tackling waste management helps to address more than half of the high-level sustainable development goals within the Post-2015 Development Agenda and promises significant early reductions in greenhouse gas emissions throughout the economy (1.3). A readers’ guide to the GWMO is provided (1.4) and the Chapter is followed by two Topic Sheets, on Waste and Climate and on the World’s 50 Biggest Dumpsites.