EGU23-14213, updated on 09 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Organising disaster waste management as a critical infrastructure

Gaïa Marchesini, Bruno Barroca, and Hélène Beraud
Gaïa Marchesini et al.
  • Gustave Eiffel, Lab'Urba, Urban Engineering, France (

Disasters produce huge amounts of waste, for instance, ten years of landfills were used for the Great Hanshi-Awaji earthquake waste in 1995 in Kobe (Japan) (Lauritzen, 1998). If poorly managed, disaster waste can slow down the rescue and reconstruction activities, spread diseases, affect the environment or reduce the long-term resiliency of the waste system (Brown et al., 2011). Thus, academics acknowledge the need of planning for disaster waste (Crowley, 2017; Gabrielli et al., 2018; Poudel et al., 2018).

Many countries have specific management policies for critical infrastructures. Critical infrastructures are activities that contribute to the production and distribution of goods or services essential to the exercise of State authority, the functioning of the economy, the maintenance of defence potential or the security of the Nation. These activities are, by nature, difficult to substitute or replace. Operators identified as “operators of vital importance” have been long included in national security strategies in terms of protection against malicious acts and natural, technological and health risks. They have to identify the risk they face, apply prevention measures and be ready to respond in case of an event. Therefore, operators of urban systems are generally used to planning for natural disasters.

Most urban systems, such as water management, energy and transportation, are considered critical infrastructures. It is generally not the case for waste management, as we can see in France, but also in New Zealand (Brown et al., 2010), Japan and the United-State (Aung and Watanabe, 2009).

Yet, waste system has many similarities with other urban systems in terms of management, functioning and modelling. We therefore argue that disaster waste management could benefit from learning from the emergency planning organisation of urban systems of vital importance.

This presentation will present the organisational obligations of urban lifeline systems to discuss whether or not the waste system should become an activity of vital importance and what it would change in its organisation and planning.



Aung, Z.Z., Watanabe, K., 2009. A framework for modeling interdependencies in Japan’s critical infrastructures. IFIP Adv. Inf. Commun. Technol. 311, 243–257.

Brown, C., Milke, M., Seville, E., 2011. Disaster waste management: A review article. Waste Manag.

Brown, C., Milke, M., Seville, E., 2010. Waste Management as a “Lifeline”? A New Zealand Case Study Analysis. Int. J. Disaster Resil. Built Environ. 1, 192–206.

Crowley, J., 2017. A measurement of the effectiveness and efficiency of pre-disaster debris management plans. Waste Manag.

Gabrielli, F., Amato, A., Balducci, S., Magi Galluzzi, L., Beolchini, F., 2018. Disaster waste management in Italy: Analysis of recent case studies. Waste Manag. 71, 542–555.

Lauritzen, E.K., 1998. Emergency construction waste management. Saf. Sci. 30, 45–53.

Poudel, R., Hirai, Y., Asari, M., Sakai, S. ichi, 2018. Establishment of unit generation rates of building debris in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, after the Gorkha earthquake. J. Mater. Cycles Waste Manag. 20, 1663–1675.

How to cite: Marchesini, G., Barroca, B., and Beraud, H.: Organising disaster waste management as a critical infrastructure, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-14213,, 2023.