Hazardous Waste Management: Reducing The Risk

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Therefore, determining the accurate estimates of hazardous is not an easy task [ 6 ]. As a result, this waste stream may end up mixed with general domestic or commercial, or disposed of in an uncontrolled manner through burning, burying, or discharged to sewer, water, or ground surface. Currently, in developing countries there are limited options for generators of hazardous waste to manage it appropriately [ 8 ].

In terms of responsibilities, developing countries have not designed and implemented producer responsibility for hazardous waste materials including human and farm animal medicines, waste oil, oil filters, paint and paint containers, pesticides and herbicides household , ink and ink containers from publishing organizations [ 9 ]. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most important regulatory framework for the management of hazardous waste.

However, other developing countries such as China has adopted several regulations and standards based on the international safety standards in combination with the Chinese situation. These are developed in order for waste producers to: Minimize waste in fuel production and fuel cycles, materials classification and purification. Guarantee a high volume reduction [ 7 ]. Based on the previous scientific research, it has been established that in developing countries, the Basel Convention is not adequately implemented [ 8 ].

Consequently, hazardous waste from developed is still received by the developing countries. Furthermore, there are no identification standards of ignitable and reactive characteristics for hazardous wastes [ 10 ]. Therefore, the present methods and standards continue to hamper and impede the development of sustainable management systems in the developing countries.

The treatment of hazardous waste should take place under regulated and controlled conditions [ 13 ]. Hazardous waste management includes the possession, transportation, handling, storage, and ultimate disposal of waste. However, in developing countries the treatment of hazardous waste takes place in unregulated or uncontrolled conditions, and in some cases hazardous waste are exported to developing countries by the developed countries [ 14 ].

It has been established that for most parts, hazardous wastes are treated in unlicensed facilities using conventional methods such as landfilling. The remainder of the waste stream is treated at authorized facilities with low technologies and low environmental standards [ 15 ]. These include incineration plants, landfills and oil recovery.


The main problems affecting the management of hazardous waste in developing countries include the following: Lack of necessary rules, plans, regulations, and instructions on different aspect of collections and disposal of waste. Lack of policy directions or incentives for existing local authority or private sector landfill operators. Not all regional environmental authorities register the generated waste types in the permit using waste classification codes.

Information about waste production rates corresponding to the recorded waste generation is usually missing. The developing countries waste information system is not detailed enough to gather information about concentrations of hazardous substances, only total mass. Lack of conformance with the best international practices on hazardous waste management.

Absence of dedicated waste managers and committees, as well as plans responsible for monitoring hazardous waste practices.

Lack of guidance, awareness, capacity building training on the management of sectoral hazardous waste management. This suggests that integrated strategies for hazardous wastes recovery are needed in the developing country industry that may reduce the disposal rate of these wastes in communal landfills and impulse resource recovery and recycling of valuable materials of these wastes. Therefore, it is necessary to develop high technologies; promoting recovery and recycling centers and hazardous waste management strategies, which are environmentally, socially, economically, and technically feasible.

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Doing so recognizes the proximity of best international practices to manage hazardous waste: maximizing the reuse, recycling, and recovery of potential materials, precious metals and where practical through the provision of a range of local treatment options; ensuring the availability of recovery and disposal outlets and stimulating green economy opportunities within nations.

Currently, many developing countries have no dedicated hazardous landfill disposal facilities. A few countries such as South Africa have hazardous landfill disposal facilities [ 16 ]. However, in many developing countries there are considerable challenges to develop hazardous waste landfills, including social acceptance, regulatory, technically skilled manpower, financial resources, limited technology or provision of such infrastructure.

Hazardous wastes such as wastewater from healthcare facilities are often discharged into storm channels, which are not periodically cleaned. Monitoring of the health and environmental risks associated with these practices is not done due to the lack of technically skilled manpower, health and safety personnel. What is so worrying here is that the recycling base in the developing countries is very weak.

Scientific collection, transportation, segregation, and disposal of hazardous waste.

Industrial hazardous waste is defined as waste generated from industrial sectors and pose immediate danger to the environment and the public [ 17 ]. Industrial hazardous wastes are characterized in terms of toxicity acute, chronic, and extrinsic , inflammability, reactivity, and corrosiveness. The main important sources of industrial hazardous wastes are mining, chemical, mechanical, pulp and paper industries, cement production facilities, wood remanufacturing facilities, etc.

Important industrial hazardous wastes include used oil and oil contaminated materials, spent solvent [ 14 ]. Nevertheless, there is limited data on the quantities of industrial hazardous waste, where is going, where it is generated and disposed of. However, due to the accelerated development of economies, mass manufacturing and processing industries and less strict standards on environmental quality assessment, the quantities of industrial hazardous waste IHW will continuously increase.

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In fact, scientific research has found that developing countries lack regulations that specifically deal with industrial hazardous wastes. In addition, in the developing countries there are no hazardous waste management plans and authorized facilities to manage, treat, and eliminate hazardous wastes. The separation of all the waste streams for possible waste reuse is not implemented in the developing countries. It contains toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and may contain substances that are genotoxic or radioactive, pathological waste, sharps e. Presently, in developing countries, there is no statistical data on medical waste.

However, in most cases, the estimated quantities of medical waste are extrapolated using bed occupancy and number of beds in health institutions [ 16 ]. However, scientific studies have shown that secure disposal of medical waste remains quite lower in several developing countries [ 22 ]. Meanwhile, significant fraction of medical waste is disposed as municipal solid waste MSW or discharged without monitoring and control; incineration is the only predominant formal way to treat medical waste.

Reducing Contamination by Improving Hazardous Waste Management

In addition, in developing countries, majority of the incineration facilities are not fully maintained and operational; use primitive technologies and simple equipment, which may consequently cause pollution [ 23 ]. In the home, it has been pointed out that there are several jobs which generate hazardous waste because of the product used may contain hazardous substances. It has been confirmed that such products include paints, cleaners, stains and varnishes, car batteries, motor oil, and pesticides [ 13 , 24 ]. As a result, the used leftover contents from such consumer products are known as household hazardous waste.

Most of the waste is sent to Africa or Asia under false pretences as donations from developed countries, especially Europe and the United States. Due to the lax enforcement and monitoring, valuable hazardous wastes such as lead batteries, waste mineral oils, photographic chemical wastes, waste mercury lamps, and certain electronic waste containing heavy metals and printed circuit boards PCBs are improperly disposed of, thereby causing significant negative impacts on public health and the environment.

Furthermore, in developing countries some HHW is almost managed as municipal solid waste [ 26 ]. The yearly population attributable proportion for both sexes is reported for each of the health outcomes. The overall number of waste related deaths from all causes per year is Further, the benefit per capita rounded to the nearest thousand of land reclamation is estimated by dividing the monetary benefit by the population living in the two provinces of Naples and Caserta in [ 36 ].

Different assumptions about the latency of the effect of the pollutants and about the discount rate lead to different conclusions about the overall effects of toxic waste on human health.

Waste Management

Health benefits arising from land reclamation in Campania are reported below assuming different time frames over which benefits are produced Table 4. In Figures 2 and 3 the present value of the benefit of reducing the number of waste associated deaths after adjusting for cancer premium is reported assuming different latency periods and discount rates.

Public awareness of the long term health effects associated with negative environmental externalities is increasing as a consequence of better data collection and the increasing number of epidemiological studies [ 37 ]. Assigning a monetary value to health risks arising from environmental externalities allows all the environmental influences on human health to be formally quantified and should help decision makers deliver optimal policies aimed at reducing the "external cost" to society. There is growing interest in the use of cost benefit analysis for the evaluation environmental interventions aimed at reducing the health damage associated with health pollution.

Despite this, little has been done to quantify the external costs due to environmental hazards on health although they account for a large part of the damage associated with negative externalities. Most of the studies, conducted in both developed and developing countries, on the effects of environment on human health focus on the long term effects of air pollution on mortality and morbidity and little attention is paid to evaluating the economic costs of waste-related health effects [ 27 , 38 , 39 ].

The results of the WHO et al. Using WHO et al. Looking at the specific causes of death, 3, fatal cancers in the eight year follow up of the WHO et al. This study makes several assumptions. According to the Protezione Civile [ 13 ] the potentially toxic waste sites located in the Campania region are concentrated in the area of Naples and Caserta provinces. However, it is very likely that there are other sites outside this area that are not documented so the problem is likely to have been underestimated.

In terms of epidemiology, the specific effects of the single pollutants on health are not considered thus the transferability of the results of the present study to contexts other than the Campania region is limited. Another important assumption of this study is that the relative risks used to quantify the number of deaths and fatal cancers attributable to waste exposure are estimated accounting for all the potential confounders.

The WHO et al. In addition, the health related effects considered are only the long term effects arising from waste exposure death and cancer.

Hazardous Waste Management

Although, several short term effects are associated with toxic waste exposure such as malformations, asthma and respiratory infections these are not considered in the economic evaluation [ 11 , 12 , 27 , 40 ]. As a consequence, the potential benefit arising from land reclamation could be underestimated. The EC [ 25 ] recommended values upper, baseline and lower value used are adjusted for the age of mortality of victims of environmental pollution and they provide a better estimate compared to previous VPF studies, however, were not elicited in the context of waste associated health risk.

Further research is needed to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the health effect arising from waste exposure and estimates of the VPF due to waste exposure. As EC [ 25 ] suggested the majority of the research conducted in the field of waste focuses only on the tangible cost of methods of waste management and not the intangible benefits that can result.

As long as the real costs and benefits of waste management policies, including their impact on health, are not explicitly accounted for in economic evaluations, there is a risk that poorer policies will be adopted and better policies rejected. This study suggests that there is a high economic incentive to reclaim the hazardous waste in the two provinces of Naples and Caserta. This sum is dramatically lower than the estimated present value of the benefit of reducing the number of waste associated deaths — In recent decades the newly created illegal sites, existing illegal sites used as provisional landfills for the municipal waste, together with the increasingly popular practice among local criminal organizations of burning the toxic waste has produced annual increases in the number of waste-related health outcomes [ 6 , 15 , 42 ].

Consequently the potential monetary benefit from greater territorial control of waste sites and from employing reliable firms to perform reclamation of hazardous sites has increased. Am J Epidemiol. Arch Environ Health. Rapporto Ecomafia Vrijheid M: Health effects of residence near hazardous waste landfill sites: a review of epidemiologic literature. Environ Health Perspect. Williams A, Jalaludin B: Cancer incidence and mortality around a hazardous waste depot. Environ Health.