The countries covering the South East Asia region have had a population surge during the past decade and at the same time the population is expected to continue increasing by around 25% of the current figures. This overly populated region is hence subjected to high degree for demand of commodities in order the needs of the consumers can be met. The high number of citizens in the particular countries has also resulted in the increase of waste materials released to the environment either in solid, liquid or even gaseous forms. The high demand for goods and services have burdened the resources and environment leading to the need for the planning in order to reduce the rate of population growth while at the same time ensuring that the habitat remains conducive to every living thing but most important the human race.
The great level of industrialization in these countries, for example India, is also a factor that has led to increased amounts of waste materials that are being produced from the various industries. Industries like the textiles, automotive, construction equipment, electronics and semiconductors, and the essential oil and gas engineering services are the main sectors that have caused an upward trend when it comes to waste material release into the environment. The fact that some of the waste materials eluted from such industries are harmful if carelessly disposed off makes the need to find a good solution, which ensures responsible and appropriate management of the waste, an urgent requirement (Holger 2008, pp.5).
The proper disposal of wastes from the various human activities is, therefore, an industry that can benefit a lot from this large population. This would be an idea based on an undying supply of raw materials and market. There will always be the need to eliminate the foreign materials from the usual human surrounding so as to ensure there is high quality habitat for every individual in the South East Asian countries.
This issue of waste management has eventually reached the state of being considered an urgent manner because the various companies in the area, residents of the respective countries and governments did not take the problem to be important. This led to an increase of dumps of different kinds waste materials spread all over. The dumping sites were not allocated with proper planning and the dumping method used was not, in most cases, appropriate enough for the kind of waste. For example, incineration is still being used as a method for disposing healthcare waste despite the fact that the technology has the possibility of releasing dioxins (Visvanathan & Adhikari 2006, pp. 20).
The steady increase in the population numbers of the region has also necessitated the implementation or established of the waste management sector. The over populated countries covering the region have experienced a parallel increase in amount of waste materials produced from every sector of the different industries. In Bangladesh, for example, during the 1991- 2001 census, the urban population had a growth rate of 3.3% while the solid waste generation also increased proportionately with the growth of this urban population (DOE 2002, pp. 3).
The need for immediate implementation of projects that will ensure that the waste products from the industries and households are handled adequately makes it necessary to provide investors, willing to venture into the waste management sector, with a favorable working environment in terms of both legislations and resources.
Like any another industry, there is the obvious facts that affect business ventures. There are things that will definitely attract investors which have to surpass the difficulties and challenges for the business idea to be considered feasible. The attraction factors will depend mostly on the political, social and economic atmospheres of South East Asia. These factors also form the basis of the difficulties and challenges that investors face when trying to enter into any market.
In the dynamics of entrepreneurship, it is paramount for a business idea to have the potential to meet the financial expectations of every entrepreneur for it to grown into a viable business opportunity. This means that the attractions behind investment into the waste management sector in the South East region must be high or more than the difficulties plus challenges for entrepreneurs to consider investing the region. The primary purpose of every enterprise is usually to make profits after meeting the needs of its customers. “Nothing comes free to the enterprise, so the enterprise must also get paid in tangibles or intangibles, for what the enterprise does”(Chatrapathy 2007, pp. 7).
This paper is aimed at determining the suitability of South East Asia for investors/entrepreneurs willing to venture into the waste management business by weighing the attractions, difficulties and challenges related to the available market.
To determine the incentives that would attract investors to the waste management business in the region.
To determine the difficulties and challenges one is bound to face when starting and running the business in S.E Asia.
Attractions for investors
As stated above, South East Asia is region which is over populated because of high birth rates in the countries around the region. This has led to a surge in the amount of waste being produce during the every day life activities while the land needed to hold the waste is diminishing with time. These are some of the reasons that made investment into waste management business a lucrative idea in the region.
The realization by the various national governments in the region of the need to develop and implement relevant legislations and laws in order to regulate the waste disposal and management process is a factor that makes entices the entrepreneurs to invest into these economies. There are regulations, similar to WEEE directives of Europe, which demands the collection and recycling of all electronic devices. This law makes the produces liable and responsible for the products they produce. The producers are therefore accountable for the cost of waste produced during their activities. This regulation offers an idea to the entrepreneurs where they can set up enterprises that will handle waste management of the waste from the various companies and demand pay (Yap 2011).
At the same time, many companies in S.E Asia do not take the waste issue seriously enough. The companies view the act of being responsible and ensuring proper disposal of waste as not being financially attractive. To them the costs of proper waste management actually outweigh the benefits. Based on these views, many companies are opting to hire a third party that will manage the waste disposal issues. This fact also provides an opportunity for setting up a waste management business that focuses on managing waste from specific companies (Visvanathan & Adhikari 2006, pp. 3).
The Southeast Asian Nations economies are run on the strong performing high-tech manufacturing sectors. These sectors are dependent on the demand for better living conditions which is increasing in the region. The high-tech manufacturing industries have in the process of providing their goods and services created a high demand for some of the services consumed by the waste management industry. The dynamics of economics project that this feature will, therefore, cause more private equity investments into the industry in the near future (Holger 2008, pp.7).
The governments for the ASEANs are taking the initiative of allocating larger amounts of money to the implementation of awareness and training program for waste management in their budget. This allocation is also meant to encourage good practices by companies directed towards proper management of waste. The money is used to offer economic incentives to corporations which take waste management seriously. There are also fines for the violators of the good practices. This increased demand for proper disposal of waste and in some cases recycling among localities of each country, governments and corporations will definitely yield an opportunity for establishment of waste management enterprises in the region (O’Neill 2010, pp. 14).
The tourism sector also offers an entry point for entrepreneurs targeting the waste management sector. The introduction of the ‘Green Globe’ certification in the tourism sector is aimed at maintaining the natural beauty of the tourist attraction sites. This certification ensures that hotels have to address major environmental issues including waste management. The need to maintain the natural beauty of the sites, mainly islands, offers a chance for the third party investors dealing with the waste management sector (Ernst & Young 2008, pp 12.)
In Southeast Asia there are very few waste management and recycling companies. This is the dream for any entrepreneur because monopolizing the market means the company can dictate the prices without the worry of losing customers to fellow competitors offering similar services (Holger 2008, pp. 13).
Difficulties and challenges concerned with waste management
The fact that most companies in the region do not find being responsible to be financially attractive poses a difficulty to potential investors for the waste management business since the market may not sufficient enough to profitable.
There is also limited legislative support for the implementation of proper waste management in the various countries in the region. For example, there is no specific legislation pertaining directly to the handling, transportation or disposal of medical waste in Bangladesh (Visvanathan & Adhikari 2006, pp. 10). This situation does not provide the necessary assurance to potential investors (entrepreneurs) either from within or foreign. The political situation will always affect the level of investment and the ability of an enterprise prospering.
The lack of local experienced experts needed to work in the waste management industry also posses a problem because the entrepreneur will have to import labor or commit his resources to training the sparsely educated group of workers. This will eat up on the profits of the business because these two methods of acquiring suitable employees are expensive (Visvanathan 2002, pp.1).
Despite the few challenges of inadequate legal support or the difficulties-for example, the need to import or train labor- the incentives are enough to attract any entrepreneur willing to venture into the waste management sector in the region. The over population state of countries in Southeast Asia and the strong rate of growth for the high-tech manufacturing industries will ensure a steady market. Hence, the region has the capability to support the establishment and sustainability of waste management business
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