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SWANA Announces Winners of The International Solid Waste Design Competition

Project focused on solutions to close the Bakoteh Dumpsite and supporting solid waste management in Kanifing, The Gambia

March 23, 2021

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Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is excited to announce the winners of the International Solid Waste Design Competition (SWDC). The University of Vermont was selected as the first-place winner as well as given the Best Presentation Award. Second place went to the University of Texas Arlington and third place was given to Wayne State University. Lizzie Torres from the University of British Columbia received the Emerging Leader/Rising Star award.

The SWDC is a student team competition hosted by SWANA’s Young Professionals Group (YP) to solve “real world” problems faced by solid waste professionals. The competition aims at providing design experience to students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in solid waste management, real world experience solving complex solid waste management issues in a fun, supportive environment, an opportunity to display their talents, and a networking event for students to connect with potential employers and others in the industry. This year’s project challenged teams to find solutions for closing the Bakoteh Dumpsite and supporting changes to modern solid waste management in Kanifing, The Gambia. The dumpsite is one of the largest disposal facilities in The Gambia and the only one in the Kanifing Municipality.

"Our team of judges were so impressed with how this group of student design teams engaged to best understand this solid waste challenge plaguing The Gambia,” Competition judge and Project Manager at SCS Engineers, Chris Jimieson, says. “The students came up with a diverse range of designs that we truly believe will be part of the eventual solution to closing the Bakoteh Dumpsite and constructing The Gambia’s first engineered, sanitary landfill.”

The judging panel also included John Welch, Director of the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables; Kaba Bah, Principal Manager at the Midwest GOOH Group in Madison, WI; and Lamin Sanyang, Director of Services at Kanifing Municipal Council in The Gambia.

Seven universities participated in the competition: Arizona State University, Wayne State University, University of Southern California, University of Vermont, University of Texas at Arlington, University of British Columbia, and National University of Engineering in Peru.

The Awards Ceremony featured two guest speakers including David Biderman, CEO and Executive Director of SWANA, and Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Lord Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality, The Gambia. Mayor Bensouda explained how the Bakoteh Dumpsite has become a significant problem for the growing community and solutions they are using to fix it.

“The SWANA student design competition offers an excellent opportunity for the Council to gather innovative ideas towards achieving our long-term goals of closing the Bakoteh Dumpsite and opening a sanitary landfill to serve our residents,” Mayor Bensouda commented. “The posters and reports presented by several student groups are impressive, creative, and insightful. My team and I will study the ideas presented by each group and integrate feasible ideas into our plans.”

SWANA would like to thank all of the student participants, the judges, SWANA’s YP Planning Committee, and all of those that attended. A special thank you goes to Lanny and Kay Hickman, stewards of the Hickman Endowment Fund and the exclusive sponsors of the awards this year.

For more information on SWANA’s Student Resources, including FREE Student Membership, YP Program, MentorMatch, and Student Scholarships, visit www.SWANA.org/students.

Employers can also access student resumes from the competition at www.swana.org/swdc.




About SWANA:

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy, and research. For nearly 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications, and a large offering of technical training courses.



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