Waste Management & Its Effect on Health in Rural Communities
Article by Ryan Malcolm
by Assoc. Prof. Kurt Seemann
A collaboration between the Centre for Design Innovation and WasteAid has extensively investigated the interconnectedness of waste management and health in rural communities. Understanding that waste management in many indigenous communities is invariably infrequent or unreliable, the CDI has undertaken comprehensive research around a number of societal factors and individual motivators that could combine to contribute to poor health.
Preliminary findings showed that infrequent garbage collection was rarely a contributor to consistent levels of poor health and that a broader approach that tackled the wider outlook of individual households to waste management would gradually improve health levels in indigenous communities. This revised approach focused around cultivating an improved waste management culture, by breaking down a number of societal and socio-economic barriers which were found to be contributors to inflated levels of poor health.
As a result of these findings, the CDI published A Gap to Close, which aims to complement the 2017 “Closing the Gap” report developed by the Federal Government, by providing a number of recommendations in order to assist in future waste-centric policymaking.