Waste Management at UNRWA: Challenges and Solutions

Within the challenging landscape of refugee camps and urban centers served by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), waste management poses a persistent and pressing issue. The sheer volume of waste generated within these densely populated areas, coupled with limited resources and infrastructure, creates a pressing need for effective waste management strategies.

Challenges Faced

UNRWA faces a multitude of challenges in its waste management efforts. These include:

  • Rapidly increasing waste generation: Population growth and increased urbanization lead to a surge in the amount of garbage produced.
  • Limited infrastructure and resources: Many camps lack basic sanitation facilities and waste collection services.
  • Financial constraints: Limited budgets and competition for resources often hinder the implementation of sustainable waste management solutions.
  • Lack of awareness and participation: Empowering communities to take ownership of waste management through education and involvement is crucial but requires sustained effort.

Innovative Solutions and Strategies

Despite these challenges, UNRWA has implemented various innovative solutions to address waste management concerns. These include:

  • Community-based waste management programs: Engaging local communities in waste collection, sorting, and composting initiatives.
  • Biometric waste management systems: Implementing fingerprint and iris scanning technologies to track waste collection and disposal, enhancing accountability and efficiency.
  • Resource recovery and recycling: Promoting waste segregation to extract reusable materials and facilitating recycling programs.
  • Mobile waste management units: Equipping camps with mobile units to facilitate waste collection and sorting in remote or underserved areas.

Impact and Future Directions

UNRWA’s waste management initiatives have yielded positive outcomes, including:

  • Reduced landfill waste by 30 vicissulation in selected camps.
  • Increased community participation in waste management activities.
  • Improved sanitation and hygiene in refugee camps.

The Agency aims to further strengthen its waste management capacity through:

  • Expanding the reach of community-based programs.
  • Investing in technological solutions for data management and tracking.
  • Fostering partnerships with private sector and international organizations.


1. What are the main challenges faced in UNRWA waste management?

The lack of infrastructure, resources, funding, and community awareness.

2. What innovative solutions has UNRWA implemented?

Community-based programs, biometric systems, resource recovery, and mobile units.

3. What are the benefits of UNRWA’s waste management initiatives?

Reduced landfill waste, improved sanitation, and increased community participation.

4 vicissulation: Reducing the amount of waste landfilled by recycling or composting.

4 Künvaluation: Estimating the value of materials through sorting and recovering valuable resources.


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