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A life cycle perspective of municipal solid waste: human health risk-energy nexus

By H Karunathilake


Abstract: With the rapid growth in urban population, sustainable waste management has become a major challenge. Despite being considered an economic, environmental and social burden on communities, waste can also be a resource. The potential of utilising MSW in energy generation has been widely investigated, as a dual solution to the issues of waste management and energy security. Different waste-to-energy conversion technologies have varying levels of impact on human health and environment. In assessing the viability of using MSW in renewable energy systems, it is necessary to understand associated risks. This study addresses the lack of information the link between MSW based-energy generation and human health risks. Mass incineration and refuse derived fuel (RDF) conversion technologies were assessed to evaluate the overall life cycle human health risks due to the processes. The life cycle emissions due to incineration and RDF were assessed using SimaPro software, for a case study on a region in British Columbia, Canada. The results indicate that RDF carries a lower health risk per GWh of energy generated per annum, when compared with incineration. The analysis was further extended to the Sri Lankan context, considering the local waste mix. This information will be useful for urban developers and decision makers in selecting the most suitable waste-to-energy conversion technologies, while mitigating the health risks to population

Topics: Municipal solid waste; waste-to-energy; human health risk; life cycle impacts.
Year: 2017
OAI identifier: oai:localhost:123/12456
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