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Déchets Suriname
Open rubbish dumps, rapidly expanding landfills and the open-air burning of waste are damaging both the environment and human health in Suriname. Lacking infrastructure and robust regulation, the small country on the northeastern coast of South America is struggling to cope with a rising amount of waste. That's why AFD and the Inter-American Development Bank are backing studies to pave the way to an integrated solid waste management system. We speak to experts at both banks to find out more.

AFD and the Inter-American Development Bank are examining ways to develop an integrated solid waste management system in Suriname. The two banks are conducting parallel studies as part of a coordinated effort to revamp the waste disposal sector and reduce its impact on human health and the environment.  

Pierre Bourguignon is Head of AFD’s Suriname-Guyana Office, and Gilroy Lewis is a Water and Sanitation Expert at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Both are based in Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital. 

What state is Suriname’s waste disposal sector in?

Pierre Bourguignon, AFD: Suriname is facing many difficulties regarding waste management. There are recurring issues such as the lack of a clear government-level strategy, the inefficiency of waste collection and transport, the lack of treatment and regulatory infrastructure that causes environmental pollution and health security problems, as well as the lack of financial resources.

Gilroy Lewis, IADB: We at the IDB are pleased to be collaborating with AFD on supporting the development of Integrated Solid Waste Management System in Suriname. Indeed, open dumps, landfills and burning are prevalent practices here, contributing to environmental degradation and negative impacts on human health. In my view, the priorities in Suriname’s waste sector include the strengthening of the political, institutional and legal framework that will streamline national coordination for policy development and implementation. This will create an enabling environment for rolling out operational standards and guidelines to regulate the sector as well as measures to achieve financial sustainability.

Further reading: Improving the Management of Solid Waste

What are the objectives of the study? 

GL: The study financed by the IDB aims to reinforce national coordination of strategies, policies, laws, budgeting and major investments related to waste management, while supporting environmental education, awareness programs and behavioral change. We expect to launch the study in April, which will last 24 months. 

PB: Suriname shares its eastern border with French Guiana, which is on the Maroni River. Some of the waste from the Suriname side is found in the river, contributing to the pollution of the banks of the Maroni on the French side. French authorities are expected to improve waste management and treatment in French Guiana. So not only is AFD providing technical assistance to the Guyanese authorities for improved waste collection and treatment. At the same time, it is imperative that waste management in eastern Suriname be addressed if pollution is to be completely stopped in the area overall. 

Yet despite previous national action plans, very few actions have been implemented. This support from AFD in Suriname follows a prioritization by Suriname’s 2022-2026 multi-annual development plan, which identifies the need to intervene in the solid waste sector, particularly in terms of collection and treatment. In addition to our study, we are considering funding a public awareness campaign on waste management and the sorting [of garbage].  

How does the study funded by the IDB complement the one funded by AFD? 

PB: Coordination efforts between the IDB and AFD will help improve the solid waste sector in Suriname, without duplicating the activities of our two institutions. Our respective studies will provide a better understanding of the sector, which will pave the way for a broader response in the future. 

GL: In coordination with AFD where appropriate, the IDB-funded study will further address governance challenges, such as the lack of national coordination of agencies and institutions, and the lack of regulatory clarity. Solving such challenges will require a concerted effort from the Government, civil society and development agencies. 

Key challenges for the sector include the inadequacy of environmental management practices, and risks to human health, the environment and the country’s ecosystems. The study funded by AFD will focus on current collection and treatment practices in eastern Suriname and the proposal of technical and financial solutions.