Waste, incineration, environment, and sanitary issues: are really at odds?

Francesco Turci (Department of Chemistry, University of Torino)

As urbanization and industrialization is growing at unprecedent rate, the global production of Municipal solid waste (MSW) and waste in general is constantly increasing. The management of waste and the technological solutions adopted have a direct impact on the health of the people and the environment. Leaching of transition metal ions, permeation and mobilization, bioaccumulation, aerosolization from waste storage and treatment sites may all concur to induce adverse effect on humans and on the environment, inducing serious adverse effects, including mortality, cancer, and reproductive issue, biota alteration and biodiversity reduction, when the potential direct and indirect impact of waste is taken into consideration. On the other hand, each waste management options provides a variety of environmental benefits that must be evaluated in a socioeconomic consistent risk benefit assessment. Health effects of waste are often modulated by the local waste characteristics, which vary with cultural, climatic, and socioeconomic variables, and institutional capacity. The effect on the environment and human health of emerging priorities, including waste from end-of-life of electrical and electronic equipment, engineered nanomaterials (ENM), and marine litter and microplastic pollution from inadequate waste management, is also considered in global waste management perspective.