Evaluation and Proposed Development of the Municipal Solid Waste Management System in Mexico City

  • Pablo Escamilla Garcia

Student thesis: Phd


The work reported involves the evaluation of technologies and management systems applied to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). The study focuses on Mexico City, which with a population of approximately 9 million inhabitants and an estimated daily generation of 13,000 tonnes of waste, is encountering extreme waste management issues. The structures and public policies designed to provide waste management services have proved inadequate in relation to high rates of population growth and intensive business activities. The significant increase in demand has led the government of Mexico City to base public services on rudimentary techniques using obsolete equipment.The research approaches the problem through the analysis of several different aspects: (1) a comprehensive literature review of waste management including technologies and legal frameworks; (2) a general overview of the main demographic, geographic and economic aspects of Mexico City; (3) an extensive analysis of historic and future waste generation profiles and composition of waste in Mexico City; (4) an evaluation of the current status of the waste management system, including programmes, plans, facilities and infrastructure; and (5) a comparative study of the waste management system of Mexico City and the systems of selected international cities.The evaluation resulted in the identification of the following significant issues: (1) limitations in legislation related to waste management and environmental laws; (2) high population growth and increasing business activity, which contribute escalating generation of MSW; (3) ineffective public policies focused on waste management; (4) significant gaps in low levels of recycling activities; (5) obsolescence of equipment, infrastructure and facilities; (6) lack of diversification in treatment methods for MSW; and (7) failure to exploit market opportunities in the waste management sector.In addition to the evaluation of the system in Mexico City, the analysis of waste management systems in selected international cities allowed the author to identify key factors in order to develop integrated proposals. The analysis highlighted significant aspects including: legal frameworks, the participation of the private sector, waste hierarchy, and guiding principles for plans and programmes. The information enabled the design of a proposed development plan of a comprehensive waste management system in Mexico City through two main proposals.Firstly, an integrated programme for waste management in Mexico City was developed to provide feasible long-term strategies in the field of waste management. The specific objectives, goals, actions, responsibilities and time scales were defined in order to provide concrete activities under specific fields of operation.Secondly, a project to obtain funding for technology transfer structured according to technical, market and economic studies, was elaborated. The guide is aimed to exemplify an investment project through the analysis of a feasibility study related to generation of energy from biogas in a controlled landfill in Mexico City. The process may be adapted to the acquisition of technology in different sectors of the waste management process.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRobert Young (Supervisor)


  • Waste management
  • MSW
  • Mexico City
  • Technology transfer
  • Energy generation
  • Biogas

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