Engineering X has awarded £500,000 in grants to 16 projects aimed at tackling the damage caused by the open burning of waste and reducing the need for the practice.
The projects, based in 13 different countries from Serbia to Senegal, are aiming to improve understanding of the socio-economic factors associated with the open burning of waste, as well as developing educational and recycling resources to support locally-led improvements in waste management.
The funding comes from the Engineering X “Safer End of Engineered Life” programme that addresses the decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of products and materials that pose a long-lasting risk to human health and the environment.
Engineering X is an international collaboration founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
Led by academics, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and social enterprises, the 16 projects will explore how open burning affects vulnerable communities and identify ways to reduce the health risks.
The grants follow work completed in collaboration with the UN High-level Climate Champions to launch a multi-stakeholder partnership at COP27 to end the open burning of waste in Africa by 2040. Tackling the open burning of waste is an important part of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, according to the Academy.
Some of the projects being awarded grants are ICLEI Africa, to create frameworks and practical solutions for waste management and reduction of open burning, as well as reviewing existing government knowledge and practices and Gbobètô, Benin, which aims to introduce the “3Rs” method (reduce, reuse, recycle) to school communities including teachers and parents.
Another project is Waste Warriors Society, India, which partners with informal waste workers to reduce dumping and open burning in the high-altitude Indian Himalayan Region through source segregation, decentralised waste banks and material recovery facilities.