Tsunami Recovery Waste Management Project (TRWMP)

What We Do


The successful completion and delivery of an impressive range of result by the Tsunami Recovery Waste Management Project (TRWMP) should be recognised as a major achievement by the UNDP. The project was conceived as a coordinated and pragmatic response to concerns associated with debris and municipal solid waste (MSW) management during the recovery and rehabilitation of Aceh Province and Nias Island following the 2004 Tsunami. The short-term aim of the Project was debris and rubble clearance and its corresponding improvement to public health protection, physical recovery and the creation of immediate temporary employment.

This project is being undertaken within the framework of the Aceh Emergency Response and Transitional Recovery (ERTR) programme, executed by UNDP in partnership with the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR), and implemented through partnerships with local Government Sanitation Department (Dinas Kebersihan) in the target districts. In April 2009, BRR completed its mandate and the partnering arrangements were revised. The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) was identified as a suitable partner, with additional technical and engineering support from the Ministry of Public Works. In addition, No-Cost Extension (NCEs) from the MDF were authorised to allow project activities to continue up to the end of December 2012. The project team used the additional time productively by completing waste landfill site construction at four locations – Blang Bintang, Pidie, Bireuen, and Gunungsitoli,

TRWMP activities commenced in March 2005 and were executed by a project team based in Banda Aceh with field offices elsewhere to assist up to thirteen tsunami-affected districts. The project had three phases during its seven-year lifetime. 

  • Phase I: Recovery – initial project activities focused on providing a coordinated, pragmatic response to the public sanitation and environmental concerns associated with tsunami/earthquake debris clearance and the management of municipal solid waste. NGO support was also mobilised to stimulate the creation of livelihoods from the recovery of materials from municipal waste (2005-2007);
  • Phase II: Rehabilitation – transitional project activities focused on enhancing the local government capacity in coordinating the reconstruction process. Further support was also provided to promote sustainable livelihoods through waste management (2007-2009); and
  • Phase III: Reconstruction – project activities shifted from a focus on disaster recovery to improve and strengthen essential services for the longer-term development of waste management infrastructure and operations; capacity building of local government sanitation departments; creation of sustainable livelihoods in waste management; and safeguarding the environment (2009-2012).

Through its seven-year project life cycle, four constituent ‘components’ ran as common themes during each phase of the Project. Each component was designed to provide communities, individuals and district administrations with financial and technical support to achieve demonstrable changes to the pre-tsunami situation:

  • Component 1: Resumption of municipal solid waste (MSW) collection, disposal and clearance, including recycling tsunami-derived waste via the implementation of Tsunami Waste Recovery Facilities (land clearance, building removal, drainage clearance, MSW collection services, skills training in carpentry and furniture making);
  • Component 2: Interim livelihood restoration and longer-term waste management livelihood creation via implementation of waste recycling projects and businesses;
  • Component 3: The rehabilitation of existing district dumpsites, including the provision of new interim and engineered landfills for enhanced, safer waste disposal; and
  • Component 4: Effective and efficient management, monitoring and oversight of the Project and its activities on behalf of the MDF donor partners

Key Milestones


The TRWMP managed an extensive programme of work and the cumulative achievements through Components 1, 2 and 3 were successful. The evaluation concluded the US$ 41 million investment in the Project was justified and had been put to effective use by UNDP. A headline summary of the significant outputs and outcomes delivered by the Project demonstrates the extensive scale of the benefits delivered:

Component 1 – Local government capacity building and land clearance

  • Clearance was made of more than one million cubic metres of tsunami waste in urban areas, together with recovery of recyclable materials used to rehabilitate 100km of roads, provided 55 hectares of daily cover at landfills and manufactured 12,000 units of wooden furniture;
  • In 2005, TRWMP paid the wages for 400,000 days of temporary labour in a cash-for-work scheme involving debris clearance, street sweeping and a drainage clearance. Over the full period of cash for work (2005 – 2008) the average daily number of cash for work participants was 1451;
  • Approximately 254 ha of tsunami-impacted agricultural land was cleared and is now back in productive use to the benefit of 946 households;
  • Demolition carried out of 553 earthquake/tsunami damaged buildings including the Banda Aceh Water Tower and Kuala Tripa Hotel;
  • Training for government capacity building initiatives provided with a total of 1673 staff members participating and development of a set of waste management training materials for municipal sanitation staff (in collaboration with UN-HABITAT)
  • Awareness-raising campaign was carried out on the opportunities for waste reduction and recycling involving potentially 36,629 school students

Component 2 – Livelihoods rehabilitation and creation

  • 164 SMEs created and/or supported of which 109 SMEs are still in business after 3 years of support;
  • 8 School Waste Garbage Banks helped to teach children about recycling and earn income from school activities;
  • 2,400 people were found to be employed through waste recycling SMEs, with an indirect benefit to 11,800 indirect beneficiaries;
  • US$ 1.37 million worth of equipment distributed (e.g. baling presses, safety equipment, motorcycles);
  • US$ 1.34 million distributed as small grants used for start-up business capital and operational support; and
  • 72,121 tonnes of waste recovered for recycling over the period of NGO support (2005 to 2010); ~67,000 tonnes of materials recycled sold successfully in the market;

Component 3 – Regional and district landfills

  • 11 districts interim landfills (26 ha of waste cells) were rehabilitated or reconstructed. These interim landfills provided safe and controlled waste disposal sites with storage capacity of three to five years, allowing time for permanent landfill construction;
  • Construction was carried out of the landmark Blang Bintang Regional Landfill for Banda Aceh city/Aceh Besar;
  • Construction was carried out of sustainable permanent landfills in Pidie and Bireuen districts;
  • A mechanical workshop was constructed and waste management equipment provided for the Gampong Jawa Landfill;
  • 10 Environmental Impact Studies on landfills conducted;
  • Feasibility studies, site surveying and detailed engineering designs for sustainable permanent waste disposal facilities have been conducted for landfills in nine other districts (there is also the prospect of some or all of them being taken forward in a future national waste infrastructure project by the national Ministry of Public Works);


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