A recent study involving the University of Southampton has investigated public perception of how waste disposal sites affect residents living nearby.
Public opinion of waste management facilities can influence where sites are located and how waste management services are delivered. Obtaining the support of communities around municipal solid waste (MSW) facilities is an important part of the successful operation of these services. One common complaint from local communities concerns unpleasant smells emitted from waste disposal facilities, such as from landfill sites.
To understand how living close to a waste disposal facility affects peoples' perceptions of odours and local pollution, the study, which is published in the journal Waste Management, questioned residents in four villages located near a cluster of waste disposal sites in southern Italy.
Two sanitary landfill sites (designed to isolate the waste from the environment) were constructed in the 1990s and a refuse derived fuel (RDF) plant (where MSW is shredded and dehydrated to recover materials for fuel) was built in 2001. All facilities were closed in 2008.
Residents were questioned in 2003, when the facilities were operating, and again in 2009, when they had closed, about their perception of and attitudes towards pollution and odours in the local area. They were also questioned their awareness of the waste facilities in the area.
The residents' perception of odour nuisance considerably diminished between 2003 and 2009 for the nearest villages, with odour perception showing an association with distance from the facilities. After the facilities had closed, residents had difficulty in identifying the type of smell due to the decrease in odour level. During both surveys, older residents reported most concern about the potentially adverse health impacts of long-term exposure to odours from MSW facilities. However, although awareness of MSW facilities an
|Contact: Glenn Harris|
University of Southampton