In Bangladesh, the Bank is helping to improve air quality and safe mobility in Dhaka by strengthening air quality monitoring and modernizing brick making and urban transport. Carbon emission reduction credits generated with Bank support are helping to improve working conditions, to protect people’s health and to provide better pay for workers.
In Mali, the Obsolete Pesticides Disposal and Prevention Project disposed of 532 tons of obsolete pesticides and toxic waste between 2014 and 2018. In Cote d’Ivoire, 329 tons of Obsolete Pesticides and Associated Waste (OPAWs) were successfully collected, transported, stored, and destroyed with the support of the Bank through the Obsolete Pesticides Management Project, including the funding of the elaboration of laws on the transport, storage, and disposal of pesticides to ensure the country's sustainable management of pesticides.
With support from the World Bank’s $1 billion loans for Innovative Financing for Air Pollution Control and Hebei Air Pollution Prevention and Control, the concentration of PM2.5 was reduced by nearly 40 percent across the Hebei province of China between 2013 and 2017, and the use of clean heating reduced annual carbon dioxide emissions by six million tons, equivalent to taking 1.2 million gasoline passenger vehicles off the road per year.
In Lao PDR, the Bank supports the establishment of a stronger regulatory framework to reduce the use of prohibited pesticides. With Bank assistance, a new Pesticides Management Decree and a Ministerial Decision on Control of Pesticides Businesses were enacted to help reduce the availability of prohibited pesticides, promote more regular inspection of pesticides businesses, and facilitate the more efficient and appropriate application of legal pesticides in agriculture. In Lao PDR, the World Bank program also supported the government in establishing stringent ambient air quality standards, including a standard for annual average concentrations of PM2.5. The program also supported the adoption of regulated standard procedures and methods for sampling and analyzing PM2.5 and PM10 in air, and other pollutants in water including arsenic, cyanide, lead, manganese, mercury and fecal coliform. A Bank-supported project assisted the Government of Lao PDR with monitoring air quality in pollution hotspots and publicly disclosing monitoring results.
In Mongolia, the World Bank is helping to curb air pollution in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Air pollution is particularly high during winter, when dwellers of ger areas burn coal and wood for cooking and heating. The Ulaanbaatar Clean Air Project is helping to replace stoves and low-pressure boilers with more energy efficient alternatives in the short term. The project is also working with the municipality to increase access to affordable housing and providing services, such as district heating, to improve the living conditions of some of Ulaanbaatar’s poorest and most vulnerable groups and further improve air quality over the longer term.
Through an investment loan in Peru the Bank is supporting a project to develop environmental information systems that include expanding the country's air quality monitoring network to six new cities (Trujillo, Chiclayo, Iquitos, Huancayo, Cusco and Piura). The project also funds the construction of a government laboratory to test samples from its stations and to provide calibration and quality control of third-party labs. Finally, the project is developing new systems to disseminate this information to the public.
Working jointly with client countries, the Bank also carries out analytical work to identify environmental priorities for poverty alleviation. Recent analytical work conducted by the Bank assessed the global estimates of the health burden of outdoor air pollution and the implications for low- and middle-income countries. Another study addressed opportunities and challenges for filling air quality data gaps in low- and middle-income countries. Other analytical work has assessed the performance of satellite for air quality measurements in low- and middle-income countries; as well as the health implications of exposure to natural dust and chemical constituents and sources of fine particulate matter. In addition, interventions for reducing air pollution have been developed along with work that addresses the linkages between pollution, health, climate change and fiscal solutions.
In Europe and Central Asia, the World Bank conducted analytical work that assesses the cost of ambient air pollution in Poland, both nationally and by individual regions. With emphasis on the critical residential sector, this work analyzes the likely impacts of national and EU legislative scenarios on future pollution emissions and ambient air quality in Poland. The work also includes a demonstrative cost-benefit analysis of selected interventions to reduce ambient air pollution in residential and transport sectors and from point sources in the regions that bear the heaviest burden of the impacts of ambient air pollution. In the Western Balkan countries of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, analytical work conducted by the World Bank assesses the cost of ambient air pollution in the individual countries. Furthermore, the work assesses current and future structures of air emission sources in the country and provides national-level source apportionment analyses of PM2.5, the most documented air pollutant for its harmful effects on human health. In the Republic of Slovakia, Bank-supported analytical work provided an estimate of the health impacts of air pollutants in the country across its 72 districts and evaluates the benefits of measures to reduce concentrations of pollutants relative to the costs of such measures.
In Pakistan, the World Bank conducted analytical work that helped to raise awareness about the severity of air pollution and its impacts on human health. The analytical work also identified cost-effective interventions to reduce outdoor air pollution and opportunities to strengthen the institutional framework for air quality management.
In Africa, the World Bank conducted analytical work to identify, assess and prioritize interventions for Air Quality Management in Ethiopia and Solid Waste Management in Rwanda, in green value chain measures for industrial pollution control in the Lake Victoria Basin.
Analytical work has also been instrumental to help set environmental priorities, identifying the categories of environmental degradation that are more closely linked with poverty reduction and economic growth. This approach has been applied in Yucatan (Mexico), Sindh (Pakistan), the Sundarbans (West Bengal, India), and Lao PDR, where analytical work has informed investments, policy reforms, and capacity building interventions to address environmental priorities. Analytical work has also been used to mainstream pollution management in key sectors, such as transport and industry.
The Bank is assisting Argentina with an ambitious integrated plan for the cleanup and sustainable development of the Matanza-Riachuelo River basin. The project is building a large wastewater collector on the left bank of the Riachuelo River, which will transport sewage to different treatment plants, thereby avoiding direct discharge into the river. The project is also constructing an 11.5-kilometer outfall that will lead to Río de la Plata.
Additionally, the Integral Sanitation Plan will expand and/or build several treatment plants throughout the basin and construct waterfall aeration stations. These large-scale engineering works are crucial for the health of 7 million people living in the area, of whom at least 10 percent live below the national poverty line.In Brazil, the Bank is supporting the state of Sao Paolo to address water scarcity challenges by providing incentives to increase use efficiency and to treat wastewater, thus reducing pollution and improving water quality.
In Romania, under the World Bank-supported Integrated Nutrient Pollution Control Project rural communities around the country are being equipped with essential tools needed to improve livestock manure management and prevent nitrates and other dangerous minerals from contaminating Romania’s soil and water supplies.
Matanza-Riachuelo River basin Sustainable Development Project
India National Ganga River Basin Project
Lebanon Lake Qaraoun Pollution Prevention Project
Togo: Urban Infrastructure Project
Vietnam: Coastal Cities Sustainable Environment Project
Management of Land-based Pollution and Remediation of Hazardous Waste Sites
Industrial activities often lead to an increase in exposure to chemicals and toxic materials and polluted lands. Though this is well known, lack of data tends to beget lack of attention. Accordingly, PMEH has worked to increase identification of toxic sites and research the health and economic impacts of these sites. By helping to identify toxic sites and create guidelines for data collection, the Bank is strengthening the link between toxic waste, on the one hand, and the economic impacts associated with negative health outcomes, on the other hand. Providing greater clarity about, and more evidence regarding, this link is crucial to empowering officials to make decisions to lessen the negative environmental outcomes of industrialization.
Recent analytical work conducted by the Bank, includes the identification of the types of industries contributing to land-based pollution in low- and- middle income countries and highlights knowledge and data gaps that have hindered a fuller understanding of land-based pollution. The work develops risk-assessment and risk-management approaches and tools for identifying, prioritizing, and mitigating land-based pollution in LMICs. The analytical work also included the development of a framework for uniform sampling guidelines and household surveys to support community health impact analyses associated with land-based pollution sources. The framework is applied to three industries that have been identified as key in LMICs: artisanal scale gold mining, used lead-acid battery recycling, and small tanneries.
The Bank’s analytical work on land-based pollution has also supported the creation and improvement of the global toxic site database. The database will increase understanding of drivers of chemical pollution in LMICs. This database will also allow officials to make informed decisions on remediation interventions.
The Montenegro Industrial Waste Management and Cleanup Project is helping to remediate industrial waste disposal sites and ensure that hazardous waste from industries is disposed in compliance with Montenegrin and European Union legislation. The project supports strengthening of the regulatory framework and development of infrastructure to provide environmentally acceptable solutions for waste management.
The China: Hunan Integrated Management of Agricultural Land Pollution Project is demonstrating a risk-based approach to manage heavy metal pollution in agricultural land. The project is also strengthening agricultural environmental monitoring and management and includes training activities tailored to the needs of government officials, environmental monitoring staff, and farmers.
Similarly in China, the Zhuzhou Brownfield Redevelopment Project is showcasing a risk-based approach to remediating and redeveloping land formerly used for lead and zinc smelting and heavy chemical industries. As of December 2019, the project’s remediation activities had directly benefited 85,600 people.
In Pakistan the Bank is financing a green growth project in Punjab that has included the implementation of waste management interventions. The project has supported reforms to modernize the legal and regulatory framework and promote investments in cleaner technologies at the provincial level to reduce air and water pollution from sectors such as brick making and leather tanning.
In Bangladesh, the Bank is supporting microenterprises to increase the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices. While production and revenues have decreased with COVID-19, there have been businesses that have managed to adapt to the crisis. For instance, some mini-garment microenterprises repurposed production to produce masks and other Protective Personal Equipment to meet newfound demand due to COVID-19.
In Morocco, the World Bank supported the modernization of waste management, including at sites like Oum Azza, near Rabat, where traditional trash-pickers now operate a recycling collective in improved conditions, and is supporting the development of carbon assets in the solid waste sector
In Egypt, the Bank is improving the management and disposal of targeted stockpiles of obsolete pesticides, including Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs).
Indonesia and Senegal are improving solid waste management services and will include financing of infrastructure for collection, transfer, treatment, disposal, and waste recycling/composting. In addition, interventions will help strengthen sector governance and institutional capacity, including support to ensure the sustainability of solid waste management operations.
The Bank is supporting Zambia reduce environmental health risks, including from exposure to lead and strengthening the institutional capacity to manage and regulate chemicals. The project focuses on local populations living in critically polluted mining areas, particularly in the Kabwe Municipality.
China Contaminated Site Management Project
Indonesia Improvement of Solid Waste Management to Support Regional and Metropolitan Cities Project
Lebanon Environmental Pollution Abatement Project
Senegal Municipal Solid Waste Management Project
The global economy relies on deeply intertwined supply chains, sustained by more than 100 billion tons of raw materials entering the system each year. Intensive material consumption causes not only natural resource depletion but also negative environmental impacts at every stage of the product life-cycle including production, use phase, and end-of-life. Moreover, global waste is expected to increase to 3.4 billion tons by 2050, some of which could be recovered as potential valuable resources.
Traditionally air, water and land-based pollution has been tackled after the fact, through clean-up efforts, but the solution must be in addressing its root causes. These lie in the dominant “take, make, waste” linear economy, fueled by large amounts of cheap, accessible energy and other resources, and producing goods that are designed to be disposable. The circular economy is a redesign of this approach, where industrial and natural resource-based production systems are restorative and regenerative by intention.
The Bank’s engagement has notably involved the promotion of circular economy, resource efficiency, and sustainable markets in various sectors (such as textile and apparel, agribusiness, and construction materials) and eco-industrial parks (including industrial symbiosis and water circularity). A portfolio of 35 projects have supported reforms in industries, value chains, the tourism sector, entrepreneurship, small and medium enterprises, public-private partnerships, and utilities. More recently, efforts have promoted access to finance to pilot resource efficiency, cleaner production, and green growth to enhance competitiveness and jobs.
Fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies are key obstacles to the circular economy. By artificially lowering the cost of fossil fuels, subsidies promote wasteful consumption and result in increased pollution and waste. Subsidies also lower the cost of oil-based products, like plastic, putting substitutes from renewable sources at a disadvantage. The Bank’s Energy Subsidy Reform Assessment Framework is a comprehensive analytical toolkit and assessment framework for helping countries to achieve politically and socially sustainable reforms. It includes specific guidance on how to estimate the local and global environmental benefits that could be achieved by phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels.
Several analytical studies on the topic of circular economy have been developed. In China, the Bank identified opportunities for circularity in the solid waste sector, as well as recommended further actions the government should take to enhance the effectiveness of its efforts towards circular economy. Similarly, a study assessed the need for greening Pakistan’s industrial sector to minimize adverse impacts on the environment and society and provided recommendations to promote a sustainable industrial development pathway. Analytical work addressed the role that economic instruments and financial mechanism play in transitioning to a circular economy.