Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Clean and Healthy
Waste Prevention and Improvement of Citizens'
Quality of Life in Terms of Socio-Economic and
Environmental Health
Barbara Fenni and Sara Spuntarelli
The “ waste problem” is linked to the Industrial Revolution, the change from
an agricultural socio-economic system to a highly industrialized one with a
strong environmental impact. The situation became even more complex
after the Second World War, when low-cost, poor quality goods were pro-
duced, sold, and disposed of after a short time. Waste production was justi-
fied as inevitable with the increase of gross domestic product (GDP) and its
management was limited to dumping and incineration. Italy's main problem
was a lack of integration between territorial and refuse management plan-
ning. Emergency situations in our country placed the landscape into a sec-
ondary place in the selection of disposal sites. The choices affected valuable
open spaces and regions close to inhabited centers, creating many concerns
for the populations involved. The scientific community confirmed the need
to acquire more data, noticing a link between the increase of some types of
cancer and malformations and the closeness of disposal sites, both for incin-
eration [1] and dumping [2]. Additional problems included the constant flow
of motor vehicles carrying waste, the region's decrease in value, the nega-
tive impact on farming and tourism, and the elevated costs sustained by cit-
izens. At the beginning of the 1970s, the international community became
more sensitive toward the environment, highlighting the need to curb the
population growth rate, industry, pollution, and the exploitation of resources
to avoid exceeding the planet's “load capacity ” [3].
In the “ Sixth Community Environment Action Programme ” of the
European Community (EU), 2002-2012, the EU stressed the need to devel-
op specific measures of prevention and recycling as a priority to stop the
exponential growth of waste 13 . The term prevention refers to actions
adopted before a substance becomes waste and determines quantity reduc-
tion 14 , danger, and impact on the environment and human health [4]. Also
important is separate collection and the successive recycling of the subdi-
vided materials allowing the reintroduction of waste into the economic
cycle in the form of quality products to avoid the use of other resources.
13 Decision no. 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and Council which instituted the Sixth
Community Environment Action Programme, http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.
14 Art. 3, point 12, letters a), b), and c) of the European Directive 2008/98/EC, http://eurlex.eu-
ropa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32008L0098:EN:NOT .
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