Environmental and economic performances of municipal solid waste management strategies based on LCA method: A case study of kinshasa

Elsevier, Heliyon, Volume 9, Issue 3, March 2023, e14372
Yllah Okin Kang, Helmut Yabar, Takeshi Mizunoya, Yoshiro Higano

Like many populated urban agglomerations in Africa, Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, faces several challenges to manage its exponentially growing Municipal Solid Waste. With its 12, 000, 000 people daily generating 7800 tons of Municipal Solid waste, the city still struggles with basic services such as waste collection and sanitary landfill. This causes major social, environmental and health related issues. With the aim of contributing to the implementation of a better management system in Kinshasa, this study evaluates the environmental impact and the cost of the existing waste management framework and proposes 6 alternative scenarios. Each scenario attempts to optimize Greenhouse gas emissions and cost, using the Life Cycle Assessment approach. Results show that the current municipal solid waste management in Kinshasa city emits 640,673 tons of CO2 equivalent per year and costs a total of 17, 776, 169.78USD yearly. Focusing on increasing waste collection coverage and recycling activities in the proposed 6 scenarios, scenario 4 where all municipal solid waste is collected, produces 4,042,402 tons of CO2 equivalent per year and costs 143, 296, 983.4 yearly. In scenario 7, considered the most optimized management model for Kinshasa in this study, municipal solid waste is valorized through different treatment processes and atmospheric pollution reaches 2,835,491 tons of CO2 equivalent yearly, with a management cost of 152, 790, 779.4 USD/year. This study finds that the optimization of the Municipal Solid Waste management system in Kinshasa city causes the atmospheric pollution in terms of CO2 equivalent to decrease by half, when all waste is collected. Landfill diversion rate reaches up to 70%, but the overall MSW management cost increases by almost eight times as much as the current operational cost. The optimization of the management system is done by increasing waste collection coverage and implementing diverse streams of waste valorization. Despite the wide use of the Life Cycle Assessment method in waste management and decision making, this method has not yet been, to the best knowledge of the authors, applied in estimating Greenhouse gas emissions and cost of the Municipal Solid Waste in the specific context of Kinshasa city.