Unsound waste management and public health revisited

‘Is the link between improper management of solid wastes and its potential adverse effects upon the health of the general population sufficiently understood and valued by our societies? Here, inevitably without getting into the core scientific evidence in great detail, we revisit what we fear has become an undervalued debate. We aspire that our short analysis could contribute to revitalising the efforts for a robust evidence base regarding the contribution of sound solid waste and resource recovery management practices to the protection of public health.’ This the introduction of a recent editorial on Waste Management and Research that was written by my good friend Costas Velis and me. The title of the editorial is “Unsound waste management and public health: The neglected link?”.

The editorial continues the discussion that has been started with the recent publications of the Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO) by UNEP and ISWA and the Wasted Health: The Tragic Case of Dumpsites report. You can see a short video on the serious impacts of dumpsites to human health here. After describing the historic origins of sanitation and the emerging challenges, the editorial concludes that “The strong link between public health and improper management of solid waste, unsound efforts for resource recovery included, should remain at the forefront of delivering a better quality of life in general and possibly can lead to massive improvement in low income and environmentally developing countries. Notwithstanding this, it is worrying that the scientific evidence establishing the strength and importance of this link seem not to be as clear or robust as would have been required.” The whole article can be found and downloaded here. Thanks a lot to Costas Velis for his great contribution.

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