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Municipal solid waste management in China: a comparative analysis


This paper illustrates an overview of the past and present MSWM strategies in China. A comparison is made with MSWM in China, and other developed and developing countries to identify and analyze the problems of existing MSWM, and evaluate some effective suggestion to overcome the limitations. Rapid urbanization and economic growth are the main factors of increasing MSW generation in China. The generating MSW has 55.86 % food waste with high moisture contain due to unavailable source separation. Chinese MSWM is dominated by 60.16 % landfilling, whereas incineration, untreated discharge, and other treatments are 29.84, 8.21, and 1.79 %, respectively. In 2014, a total of 604 sanitary landfills, 188 incineration plants, and 26 other units were used for MSWM. With the magnitude of timing, the increasing rate of incineration unit and disposal capacity is higher than the landfill. In 2004–2014, the disposal capacity of landfill and incineration is increased from 68.89 to 107.44 and 4.49 to 53.3 million tons, respectively. However, the heating value in the majority of Chinese incineration plants is 3000–6700 kJ/kg and the inappropriate leachate treatment can be found in 47 % landfill sites. A proper taxation system for MSW disposal is not fully implemented in China, which has a negative impact on overall MSW recycling. From the comparative study of MSWM, it is revealed that the source separation MSW collection, high energy recovery from incineration plants, appropriate leachate treatment, effective landfill location and management, increase waste recycling and proper taxation system for MSW disposal are essential to improve MSWM in China.

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Correspondence to Md Manik Mian.

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Mian, M.M., Zeng, X., Nasry, A.a.N.B. et al. Municipal solid waste management in China: a comparative analysis. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 19, 1127–1135 (2017).

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  • Municipal solid waste
  • Comparison
  • Management hierarchy
  • China