JOURNAL ARTICLE

The current municipal solid waste management situation in Tibet

Jianguo Jiang, Zhiying Lou, Silo Ng, Ciren Luobu, Duo Ji
Waste Management 2009, 29 (3): 1186-91
18845428
The Tibetan Plateau has an average altitude of more than 4,000 m. The total area of Tibetan Plateau is 2,400,000 km2, which occupies 25% of the area of China. Due to the high altitude, the environment has low atmospheric pressure, low oxygen content, and low temperature, and is also fragile. Investigations concerning MSW generation and characteristics, MSW management, collection and transportation, and treatment and disposal of MSW covered four representative cities, including the urban areas of Lhasa city, Shigatse, Nedong of Lhoka and Bayi of Nyingtri. The results show that MSW generation in the urban areas of Lhasa city and Tibet were 450 t/d and 3,597 t/d, respectively, in 2006. However, accelerated economic development and flourishing tourism caused by the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (QTR) have greatly increased solid waste generation to a new high. It is predicted that MSW generation in Tibet will reach 4,026 t/d in 2010 and 4,942 t/d in 2020. MSW management and disposal lag behind MSW generation due to a number of factors such as equipment shortage, insufficient maintenance, exhaustion of waste treatment capacity and low recycling efficiency. Still, MSW in most areas is dumped in the open with no controls. Because no appropriate collection and treatment systems for leachate and landfill gas exist, untreated leachate is discharged directly into the environment, causing serious secondary pollution. Some suggestions on improving the MSW management system are presented in this paper.

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