Developing countries with intense urbanization process, such as Brazil, have obstacles to the implementation of an adequate management, due to factors such as: low financial and administrative capacity to ensure basic services infrastructure, among them, the services of collection and proper disposal of waste (Jacobi and Besen 2011). One of the greatest difficulties is to perform the proper management of municipal solid waste (MSW), considering its evaluation and monitoring to formulate strategies and ensure environmental sustainability, as well as improvements in the quality of life of the population, becoming a long-term challenge.
Inadequate waste management causes socio-environmental impacts, such as: soil degradation, pollution of water bodies, intensification of floods, air pollution, proliferation of vectors that cause diseases, in addition to providing an unhealthy environment for the activity of the collector (Besen et al. 2014; Maiello et al. 2018). Some authors have been conducting research of models that apply integrated management, in order to propose better solutions or alternatives for minimizing the socioeconomic, environmental and health impacts that are the result of the issue of solid waste, from its generation to the final disposal stage (Pinho, 2011; Agostinho et al. 2013; Pereira et. al. 2018; Kneipp et al. 2014; Agovino et al. 2016; Aguilar et al. 2018).
Statistical information released in the report by the Brazilian Association of Public Cleaning and Special Waste Companies in 2017, indicated total annual generation of 78.4 million tons in Brazil, having a collection coverage index of 91.2%, resulting in approximately 6.9 million tons of MSW disposed of inappropriately. Of this amount only 59.1% of the waste was sent to landfills, and consequently more than 80,000 tons of waste per day were sent to inappropriate sites, such as dumps and controlled landfills, causing environmental and public health damage. Dealing more specifically with the North region, 15,634 tons/day of MSW were generated, and 81.3% of this amount was collected. Of the total collected, 65.3% were sent to dumpsites and controlled landfills, representing the two main destinations of the materials generated in the region (ABRELPE 2017).
The specific legal framework for the solid waste sector was given with the effectiveness of the Federal Law 12.305/2010, also known as the National Policy on Solid Waste (NPSW) (BRASIL 2010), encompassing the objectives, principles, instruments and guidelines applicable to the proper management of these materials, in addition to defining the responsibilities of each actor involved in these processes. In the context of management, the NPSW addresses the Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Plans (IMSWMP) as a tool of public administration, this being a condition for access to resources from the Union, as well as an aid tool for the management of activities related to urban cleaning and management of this waste (Costa and Pugliesi 2018).
The minimum content of these Plans is provided for in Article 19 of the current legislation, containing 19 items. Paragraph 1 of this article addresses the possibility of inserting the IMSWMP in the Basic Sanitation Plans (BSP), respecting the minimum content required in the NPSW. The § 2° deals with the simplified IMSWMP for municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants, not being valid for municipalities that are in areas of tourism interest, in areas of influence of enterprises or activities with significant regional or national environmental impact, or that are inserted totally or partially in Conservation Units, being the minimum content described in article 52 of Decree 10.936/2022, contemplating 14 items (BRASIL 2010).
Decree 10.936/2022 brings in its art. 52 conditions for the preparation of Simplified Plans for municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants, and the municipalities that participate in consortium solutions are exempt from the preparation of IMSWMP, provided that the intermunicipal plan meets the minimum items required in art.19 of NPSW (BRASIL 2022). It is noteworthy that it is necessary to perform constant evaluation of solid waste management, because the monitoring of municipal public policies ensures possibilities for improvements in strategies to achieve the objectives, promoting environmental sustainability and ensuring more quality of life for the population (Santiago and Dias 2012; Chaves et al 2020).
Article 18, § 1, describes the priority conditions for access to federal resources, prioritizing municipalities that "opt for inter-municipal consortium solutions for the management of solid waste, including the elaboration and implementation of an inter-municipal plan, or that voluntarily enter the micro-regional solid waste plans referred to in § 1 of art. 16" or that "implement selective collection with the participation of cooperatives or other forms of association of collectors of reusable and recyclable materials formed by low-income individuals" (BRASIL 2010).
It is worth emphasizing the relevance of inter-municipal management and sanitation consortia or MSW management, because Brazilian municipalities find it difficult to plan, regulate and promote the operation of solid waste management services alone, so to overcome this structural deficiency, it is important to consider the regionalization of management through public consortia to ensure the sustainability of investments in this sector (Gouveia 2012).
Although the NPSW has established deadlines for the preparation of IMSWMP, it is evident the difficulty that small, medium and large municipalities face in ensuring the minimum legal compliance, mainly due to political/institutional, technical and financial limitations that make the preparation of IMSWMP unfeasible under the Law, such as aspects related to the lack of training of the technical team responsible, absence of a structured sector and limited material and budgetary resources (Polaz and Teixeira 2009; Chaves et al. 2020; Neves et al. 2021). According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE 2017), 54.8% of municipalities in Brazil have these plans, and of these, 82.1% cover only the municipality and not a set of municipalities, which is provided for in Law as inter-municipal plans, that is, union of municipalities with common interests to enable the implementation of legal instruments (BRASIL 2010).
Given this scenario, there is a need to propose a tool to assist municipal managers in the decision-making process, prioritizing the quality of preparation and constant monitoring and review of these documents, seeking to portray actions likely to be implemented considering the peculiarities and limitations at the local level (Pereira et. al. 2018; Chaves et al. 2020). Therefore, the objective of this article was to elaborate a tool to evaluate the IMSWMP of 16 municipalities in Pará, based on solid waste management indicators, as a way to circumvent the difficulties faced by municipal governments in the process of elaboration of IMSWMP.