Eco Encyclopedia

Environmental Pollution

When the “Waste Cycle Integrated Management” is mishandled the consequences, most of the times, will have an impact on the environment, leading to situations that can jeopardize the ecosystem of vast territories.The main environmental pollution causes in this sector are:

- Criminal organisations’ illegal activities;
- Dumping of industrial wastewater and sludge non-compliant with regulations;
- Illegitimate use of waste treatment and disposal facilities;
- Indiscriminate abandonment of dangerous and non-degradable materials.

Soil, water and air can be polluted by several substances that can contaminate, to different degrees, the fauna and flora of a specific territory and, sometimes, even cause damage to the food chain. When those substances reach an aquifer, they can cause dangerous alterations of the water balance of drinking water used by men.

Similarly noxious are the farming land contaminations, endangering the harvest health and consequent edibility.

The sea, rivers and parks eco-system is also endangered by polluting factors produced.

Over the last years many coutries have developed and promoted a strategy  targeting the reduction of negative effects on the waste cycle nature, setting some specific intervention priorities of wide scope such as:

- “clean technologies” development to save resources, prevent biogases emissions and re-use waste;

- designing and marketing products with a reduced impact on the production of waste and pollution;

- implementation of every product’s environmental impact assessment during its whole life cycle;

- Promotion of agreements and programmes to prevent and reduce waste quantity and dangerousness;

- Providing incentives for waste re-use and recycling;

- Supporting waste treatment for energy production.

The first step towards a solution for pollution is, thus, the implementation of management policies following the sustainability and environmental protection approach.


Recycling and re-using materials such as paper, glass, plastic and metals means preventing pollution from increasing, because, first of all, there is less waste to dispose of and, at the same time, they can be sent to the state-of-the-art collection facilities in a more appropriate way in order to help material recovery.

From paper, for example, it possible to recover new paper, from glass precious raw materials to be used in pottery production, from plastic you can recover material to produce modern furniture pieces.

This will help re-using raw materials reducing the natural resources exploitation.

From non-recyclable materials it is possible to produce Waste Derived Fuel that, collected in cylindrical blocks (made of the dry part obtained by the MSW processing) enable the production of energy in apposite facilities called “waste to energy plants”.

Landfills and waste to energy plants, hence, would be used to dispose of the refuses deriving from the waste management integrated system, eliminating or producing in a very limited way dangerous gases emissions, with a minimal environmental impact.

In this field, however, it is always important to raise awareness among the citizens, to prompt them to respect protected areas, woods, coasts and rivers visited. Waste abandonment and accumulation, especially dangerous waste (non-degradable or containing chemical or toxic material releasing dangerous substances in the soil and air) is not only a rude and uncivilized act but it must be considered as a true damage caused to our environment.

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