Egyptians rate inadequate solid waste management as the top priority for urban environmental issues. Sub-standard solid waste management (SWM) systems have a serious negative impact on both public health and economic development Open burning of solid waste contributes to air pollution and increased respiratory problems. Illegal dumping of trash in public areas attracts pests and vermin, escalating the probability of contracting diseases. Improper management of solid waste, and its commingling with medical and hazardous wastes, lead to serious health problems, lost workdays, and decreased labor productivity.
Due to the growing inadequacies of SWM services provided by the public sector, USAID began working with the Government of Egypt to privatize these services in areas that are home to more than 15 million Egyptians. In the past five years, USAID has devoted some $5.72 million to this effort. Total estimated value of equipment and materials provided by U.S. manufacturers for the new activities in this sector could eventually exceed $140 million.
The successful privatization in Egypt’s two largest urban areas has been documented and shared with all other governorates in the country through USAID’s production of a step-by-step privatization procedural manual and the training offered to Government of Egypt staff in its application
Private contractors have begun working in Alexandria and Cairo governorates which have seen improvements already in service delivery, health, and environmental conditions. The solid waste and public cleaning contracts are having a significant impact on the environmental, health, and economic conditions in Egypt. For example, the Secretary General of the Alexandria governorate reports a reduction in the occurrence of hepatitis and meningitis cases since the implementation of the new solid waste and public cleaning system. Alexandria has experienced an increase in tourists, and local observers attribute that to their city’s new reputation as a cleaner and more pleasant place to visit. Privatization of SWM services created thousands of better paying jobs and encouraged foreign investment. Over 15,000 new general labor jobs have already been generated or will soon be created in the private sector, and 1,000 new contract-monitoring jobs created in the public sector.
Last updated: January 12, 2015