Published: 14 June 2021
Last edited: 17 June 2021
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The Waste Flow Diagram (WFD) is a rapid assessment tool that maps municipal solid waste flows and estimates plastic waste leakage into the terrestrial and aquatic environment. It is developed for cities in low- and middle-income countries. It can be used both as baseline assessment and for scenario forecasting - supporting the planning and monitoring of waste and marine litter interventions.


The WFD is a freely-available, excel-based tool to be applied by experienced waste experts and consultants. It requires data inputs on the municipal solid waste management as well as the systematic assessment of all waste management stages from collection to final disposal. Cities and towns without updated and reliable waste data are encouraged to conduct primary data collection exercises based on the methodology of SDG indicator 11.6.1. The WFD is based on this methodology. Further guidance and assistance is available, among others through online courses. 


Central America
East Asia
East Europe
East and South Africa
North Africa
South America
South Asia
Southeast Asia
West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Cities and infrastructure
Local actors
Marine litter
Science and research
Urban planning
Waste management
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through government
Indirect through legal actors


Eschborn, Hesse, Germany | Annaba, Algeria; Sidarjo, Indonesia; El Hamoul & Borg El Borollos, Egypt; Rach Gia and Kien Giang province, Vietnam; Mombasa & Nairobi, Kenya; Manila, Philippines; Fnidec, Morocco; Tulum, Mexico; and many more


Marine plastic litter poses a global risk to marine ecosystems, fishing and tourism as well as possibly human health. An estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic enters the world's seas each year. This amount could increase to 29 million tonnes by 2040. A large share comes from the rapdily growing consumption of single-use products and packaging worldwide.


Insufficient waste management is considered a major source of marine litter, especially along coats and rivers. Understanding the leaks and pathways of plastic waste into the environment is key in developing effective measures to beat plastic pollution. 


The WFD was designed to support stakeholders in planning and monitoring local interventions and has been taken up by various international and local institutions, e.g. in combination with the UN-Habitat SDG 11.6.1 assessments in about 50 cities and mega cities.


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Mira Nagy Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH