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Impact assessment of waste management options in Singapore.

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2006 Mar;56(3):244-54.


Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


This paper describes the application of life cycle assessment for evaluating various waste management options in Singapore, a small-island city state. The impact assessment method by SimaPro is carried out for comparing the potential environmental impacts of waste treatment options including landfilling, incineration, recycling, and composting. The inventory data include gases and leachate from landfills, air emissions and energy recovery from incinerators, energy (and emission) savings from recycling, composting gases, and transport pollution. The impact assessment results for climate change, acidification, andecotoxicity show that the incineration of materials imposes considerable harm to both human health and the environment, especially for the burning of plastics, paper/cardboard, and ferrous metals. The results also show that, although some amount of energy can be derived from the incineration of wastes, these benefits are outweighed by the air pollution (heavy metals and dioxins/furans) that incinerators produce. For Singapore, landfill gases and leachate generate minimal environmental damage because of the nation’s policy to landfill only 10% of the total disposed wastes. Land transportation and separation of waste materials also pose minimal environmental damage. However, sea transportation to the landfill could contribute significantly to acidification because of the emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides from barges. The composting of horticultural wastes hardly imposes any environmental damage. Out of all the waste strategies, the recycling of wastes offers the best solution for environmental protection and improved human health for the nation. Significant emission savings can be realized through recycling.



[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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