Landfill site selection is problematic in many countries, especially developing nations where there is rapid population growth, which leads to high levels of inadequate waste disposal. To find sustainable landfill sites in sprawling cities, this study presents an approach that combines geographic information system (GIS) with multi-criteria (social, environmental and, technical criteria) and the population growth projection. The greater Maputo area in Mozambique was selected as a representative city for the study, which is undergoing rapid urbanization. Six criteria, i.e., land use, transport networks, hydrology, conservation reserve, geology and slope, were considered and overlaid in the GIS using an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The arithmetic projection of the population trend suggests that the greater Maputo area is experiencing a rapid and uncontrolled population growth, especially in Matola city. These pronounced changes in population then significantly change the landfill placement decision making. Dynamic and static scenarios were created, based on the analysis of multi-criteria and the areas likely to undergo future increased population growth. A comparative evaluation in a scenario of dynamic behavior considering future population showed that suitable areas for landfill sites have been drastically modified due to social and environmental factors affected by population distribution in some regions. The results indicate that some suitable areas can generate land use conflicts due to population growth with unplanned land use expansion. Finally, the western part of Matola city is recognized as the most recommendable landfill site, which can serve both Maputo and Matola city with affordable costs. This study provides an effective landfill placement decision making approach, which is possible to be applied anywhere, especially in developing countries to improve sustainable municipal solid waste management systems.
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