ISWA president warns of climate change impacts on unmapped landfill sites

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Source: ISWA International Solid Waste Association

Vienna, Austria – A recent research from the British Geological Society highlights how thousands of old, closed landfills, that probably were thought were problems of the past, are actually severe problems for the future. In his blog, ISWA president David Newman calls attention on climate change that is altering rainfall patterns, increasing flooding, and coastal erosion eating into vulnerable coastal areas, so landfills that were built in those areas over the last century are now at risk of becoming exposed, flooded and of leaking their waste into the environment. And some of them are hazardous waste too.

According to David Newman, this is an example of how communities need to build resilience to climate change and take into account in these scenarios old landfill sites. „There is an enormous challenge simply in mapping the sites, identifying the levels of potential risk; and then the cost of securing them against flooding and coastal erosion. For sure, many sites will have to be excavated and removed.“

And he added: „I am sure this is not purely a British phenomenon; indeed compliments to the British for being among the first to highlight how vulnerable some of these sites will be with future climatic patterns. It would be interesting to see such a study undertaken more widely throughout the developed countries to help us understand our vulnerabilities and where resilience investments need to be focused.“

Source: ISWA International Solid Waste Association