Assessing and mitigating the environmental impacts of solid waste is critical to develop sustainable waste management strategies. Solid waste deposits from the extractive industry, i.e. extractive waste (EW), and municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills can be an environmental threat through groundwater or surface water contamination in addition to the human health risks they might pose. Furthermore, MSW landfills account for 5% of the anthropogenic methane production worldwide.
In line with Europe’s Circular Economy Action Plan, several strategies emerged aiming for sustainability regarding the use of natural resources, a responsible consumption/production, dynamic landfill management (DLM) and, mainly for EW, the recovery/reuse of waste produced during exploitation and processing activities. These include the reduction of emissions through control of microbial activity, sustainable mining and recovery of raw materials and energy, the rehabilitation of the occupied land among others. Yet, the controlling mechanisms of microbial activity and other degrading processes in waste are largely unknown, and traditional methods based on the analysis of samples generally lack the required resolution for an adequate characterization of biogeochemical processes. Hence, there is a big demand of innovative techniques for the characterization and monitoring of EW and MSW disposal sites. In particular, reliable information about the composition and geometry of waste depositions, as well as about their biogeochemical status is needed. Geophysical methods are well suited to fulfill these requirements as they can provide real-time information about subsurface physical properties in a non-invasive way and with high resolution in space and time.
The main topics to be discussed in this session deal with the use of innovative methods, including, but not limited to, geophysical approaches for:
- Characterization and monitoring of MSW and of EW from quarries and mines.
- Case studies for the detection and assessment of environmental pollution associated to the disposal of solid waste.
- Evaluation of the risks associated with the management of waste and integrated approaches towards sustainable mining,
- Innovative technologies to exploit EW facilities and to improve the systematic recovery of waste flows. Case studies related to the recovery of EW from quarrying and mining activities, including valorization as construction materials.
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