Dumping waste in the natural environment

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Dumping Waste in the Natural Enviroment Damage caused by dumping waste in the natural environment and the social, environmental, and economic benefits of adopting responsible and sustainable behaviours


Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali Direzione Generale del Terzo Settore e della responsabilità sociale delle imprese

THE PROJECT “SE MI LASCI NON VALE” (IT’S NOT FAIR IF YOU LEAVE ME) AND THE FOUR DOSSIERS This booklet was produced by the Social Promotion Association “Centro di Documentazione sui Conflitti Ambientali – CDCA Abruzzo” (Environmental Conflict Documentation Centre CDCA Abruzzo) within the project “Se mi lasci...non vale! - Conoscere e prevenire” (it’s not fair if you leave me – Awareness and prevention) financed by Abruzzo Region - Department for Health and Welfare - Social Planning Service - dpf014 under the tender procedure “Financing of initiatives and projects of regional relevance promoted by voluntary organisations and social promotion associations for the implementation of activities of general interest”. The general objective of the project is to raise awareness of waste management, waste prevention, sustainable development, climate change and circular economy through a set of activities aimed at reaching different population groups and public and private bodies, including the dossiers’ translation into the seven foreign languages most widely spoken in Abruzzo region. In particular, said four dossiers are available in the following foreign languages, in order to involve and facilitate communication and understanding of the necessary cultural change that our time imposes: Romanian, Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, English, French. These four dossiers are:

NO. 1 – “Waste cycle, appropriate disposal and recycling of end-of-life products: the 4Rs”. NO. 2 – “Damage caused by dumping waste in the natural environment and the social, environmental and economic benefits of adopting responsible and sustainable behaviours”. NO. 3 – “Alternative uses of food - avoid food waste and much more” NO. 4 – “Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Circular Economy - Responsible Behaviours to Adopt”. Anyone can distribute and print the dossiers, retaining their graphic and content features. “...We will be known by the tracks we leave behind...” Dakota Proverb

August 2021


DUMPING WASTE IN THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Damage caused by dumping waste in the natural environment and the social, environmental, and economic benefits of adopting responsible and sustainable behaviours. The phenomenon of waste dumping has increased dramatically in recent years and concerns indiscriminately waste of any kind and nature that is left in both urban and rural environments. The areas where dumping occurs very often become real waste receptacles with the tendency to become systematic and permanent: they often turn into real unauthorised landfill, with related environmental degradation and potential danger of polluting the surrounding. In some cases of waste dumping, the territories concerned have undergone very strong transformations, which have led to a total change in their appearance [“Territorial report on illegal activities associated with the waste cycle in Apulia region” approved at the session of 20 June 2012 by the Parliamentary Investigation Committee on illegal activities associated with the waste cycle]. This problem is extremely complex: it cannot be attributed solely to a matter of environmental education and lack of civic sense on the part of individual citizens. In fact, dumping of waste on public or private land is often the final and most obvious symptom of illegal business activities behind it. Often, small businesses that operate in the black economy and therefore do not deliver waste to landfills or authorised storage or recovery centres dump their waste in the environment. This feeds a chain of illegal activities, including tax evasion.

DANGERS, RISKS AND DAMAGES Waste dumping has a negative impact on everyone: on the environment, because dumped waste makes the environment dirty, can pollute land and water, and makes places unhealthy. on those found guilty of dumping, who become liable to sanctions for violations and bear the extra cleaning costs. on all citizens, who pay, through Tari (waste tax), the extra cleaning service fee related to waste dumped by unknown persons. But the damage caused can be manifold. If, for example, waste comes into contact with a river or groundwater, the consequences could be harmful starting from: water pollution: waste could release pollutants into the water directly harming aquatic organisms and water users. Health and hygiene risk: polluted water, if used for irrigation purposes, could transfer pollutants to crops; pollutants could reach the coast and pose a risk to bathing and marine organisms which, if ingested, would also pose a health risk. Poorer landscape quality: negative perception of the area and impact on its attractiveness for tourists. An economic burden for the citizens the cost of collecting and disposing of un-sorted waste left outside the bins is part of the overall cost of the service and must therefore be funded by the pro-ceeds of TARI tax. Environmental degradation: waste dumping is in addition to other environmental impact elements and increase the depletion of environmental resources, particularly water and its related services.

Hydrogeological risk there is a real danger that waste, especially bulky waste, will be dragged by the current, obstructing the flow of water in the event of flooding therefore increasing the risk of overflowing Risk of fire: if hazardous, possibly flammable waste or large quantities of waste and wood are dumped in the environment, a single spark can cause a devastating fire, which in addition to the damage caused by combustion can lead to further emissions and polluting gases (e.g. dioxins). Also, disposing of clippings and pruning by burning them directly in the fields can be extremely dangerous, especially during summer and hottest periods: a little oversight can generate large fires and burn of dumped waste in the area. For this reason, it is very important to be aware of any possible scenario and always avoid dumping waste in the countryside, in the city or on the beach, in rivers, in wells... in short, everywhere! A list of disposal times for waste dumped in the wild is provided below: ( CONAI data, National Packaging Consortium, is the system used by companies that recycle packaging materials to give them a new life). 3 months - Paper towel 3/6 months - Apple core 1 year - Daily newspaper 2 years - Cigarette filter 3 years - Wool gloves 10 years - Aluminium can 35 years - Nylon materials 50 years - Leather footwear and clothing 75 years - Shoe soles 1,000 years - Plastic bag 4,000 years - Glass bottle

WASTE DUMPING IS PROHIBITED Waste dumping is prohibited as laid down in Article 192 of Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, which provides in paragraphs 1 and 2 respectively that "Dumping and uncontrolled deposit of waste on and in the soil is prohibited" and that "The discharge of waste of any kind, in a solid or liquid state, into surface and groundwater is also prohibited". When this prohibition is infringed by a business or an entity, the law provides for a criminal sanction, whereas when the infringement is done by individuals, and therefore it has often to do with household waste, the sanction is administrative. In any case, 'the person responsible for dumping is obliged to remove and send the waste for recovery or disposal, ensuring the restoration of the place'. Over time, a specific ban on the dumping of very small waste and smoking products has also been included, with corresponding penalties. The issue of waste dumping is very complex and cannot be explained solely by a lack of environmental education and civic sense on the part of individual private citizens. Dumping of waste is often the most obvious symptom of illegal business activities: it is the tip of the iceberg, under which small businesses operating outside the law often dump their waste and do not deliver it to landfills or authorised storage or recovery centres. This feeds a chain of illegal activities, including tax evasion. The legislation does not provide a specific definition of 'dumping', so it is necessary to refer to case law which - over the years - has outlined the distinctive features of the cases in which dumping takes place: “Dumping of waste is an occasional and discontinuous act, consisting of an entirely occasional and episodic waste dumping in such a quantity as to have a minimal environmental impact (Cf. Criminal Cassation, Sect. III, judgment of 15 April 2004, no. 25463). Moreover, “such an unlawful activity is characterised by the intention of exclusively discharging the waste, and thus by dumping it, the waste is definitively released by its holder in a certain place, without any subsequent intention of taking actions aimed at its recovery or disposal' (Cf. Criminal Cassation, Sect. III, judgment of 16 December 2015, no. 49590). No impact on the integrity of the environment is required to object waste dumping since the act itself is sanctioned as it violates the prohibition laid down by Art. 192 of Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 (Cf. Criminal Cassation, Sect. III, judgment of 22 January 2013, no. 10927). What is punished is the action of dumping waste itself, without further need to establish and document any consequential damage. The hazardous or non-dangerous nature of the dumped waste does not, therefore, affect the possibility of sanctioning the relevant offence, but does determine the type of penalty applicable. A distinction must be made between dumping waste (which is occasional and discontinuous) and the concept of unauthorised landfill, for which sanctions are provided for by art. 256, paragraph 3, of Legislative Decree no. 152/2006. An unauthorised landfill is defined as 'a systematic activity repeated over time, aimed at definitively dumping waste followed by the related and consequent degradation, even tendential, of the state of the places' (Criminal Court of Cassation, Sec. III, in its judgment of 11 November 2015, no. 45145).

Moreover, “... there is an unauthorised landfill whenever, because of a repeated act, waste is dumped in a specific area, which is in fact transformed into a deposit or receptacle for waste with a tendency to be permanent, in view of the considerable quantities of the waste and the space occupied (...). The unauthorised landfill should have, approximately, one or more of the following characteristics, whose presence constitutes a valid element to consider the prohibited act has been carried out: 1) accumulation, more or less systematic, but in any case not occasional, of waste in a given area; 2) heterogeneity of the materials pile; 3) finality of their dumping; 4) degradation, at least tendential, of the state of the places due to the presence of the materials concerned”. The judgement also stated that “the offence of unauthorised landfill can also be committed in the event of accumulation of waste which, due to its characteristics, is not collected in order to be delivered within the prescribed time frame to one or more destinations in accordance with the law and which leads to the degradation of the area on which it is located, even if it is inside the production plant” and that “the creation of an unauthorised landfill can also take place through a single discharge”. AVOID DUMPING IS A SIGN OF ACCOUNTABILITY TOWARDS OTHERS AND FUTURE GENERATIONS. Our planet is suffering, and man-made damage is having devastating consequences on the ability of future generations to continue to live safely and with dignity. Present generations have a responsibility to pass on to future generations a healthy and liveable place. Therefore, an act such as dumping waste in nature is a phenomenon that must be fought and prevented, to preserve our planet Earth in an optimum way. We have a duty to reduce our impact on it, which is the reason why proper waste disposal and opposing waste dumping is so important. THE NUMBERS: HOW MUCH IT COSTS US TO REMOVE DUMPED WASTE Waste dumping in the natural environment not only causes environmental damage, degradation, and deterioration of living places, but also has a significant impact on the budget of municipalities. The law requires that the person responsible for dumping waste shall remove it.

The problem arises in the many cases of waste dumping in which the offending/responsible party is not identified. In these cases, it is the Municipality, in the person of the Mayor, who must provide for the removal and reclamation of the place affected by the dumping. This means that it is the citizens who pay for this activity by paying taxes and in particular TARI tax. To give an example, in the municipalities managed by Eco.Lan (a joint stock company with total public capital, made up of 63 member municipalities and 71 equivalent municipalities, which meets the needs related to comprehensive waste management, i.e. collection, transport, recovery/recycling and disposal of urban waste for a population of about 220. 000 inhabitants, residing in the vast territory of Frentano, Sangro-Aventino, Ortonese-Marrucino and Alto Vastese), in 2020 alone, 72,300 kg of bulky waste were dumped, to which tyres and household appliances should be added, and in many sites bags of rubbish and urban waste were found dumped by the side of the road. Recovering and disposing of dumped waste entails high costs. For example, the operation to recover and dispose of the "few" pieces of dumped waste shown in photo A costs 207 euro. The cost of these operations varies according to the quantity and type of waste to be disposed of. If special waste were to be found, it would first have to be analysed, then removed by specialised companies and finally disposed of, thus generating a cost to the municipality of thousands of euros for a single site. Below is an example of how the practice of waste dumping in the natural environment causes great environmental and economic damage: photos B, C and D were taken in Torino di Sangro (CH) in the Figure 1: A heart of "Lecceta di Torino di Sangro" regional nature reserve. Several dumped waste sites were found, and the clean-up, disposal, and restoration of the area have cost 1,343 euros. .

Figure B

Figure C

Figure D

The costs of cleaning up waste dumping are high. In the municipalities where Eco.Lan operates, the disposal of bulky waste alone has cost more than 11,500 euros in 2020. Costs that could have been avoided if, instead of dumping waste in the wild, people had simply chosen to use the bulky and hazardous waste collection service. This service is free of charge and can be requested by calling the relevant toll-free numbers or by following the online procedures on the websites of the managing bodies and the municipalities of residence. In addition to the possibility of door-to-door collection, there are also special areas for bulky and hazardous waste. It is therefore essential that all waste follows the right collection cycle, in order not to create great environmental and economic damage to our communities: if all types of waste are collected in the right way, all other activities related to reuse, recycling and recovery can also be started. We would achieve lower resources consumption, lower operating costs and our living places would be healthier and more beautiful!

WHAT HAZARDOUS WASTE IS Hazardous waste is municipal or special waste that may have a civil or industrial origin. Due to the high concentration of pollutants in it, it is necessary to reduce its dangerousness. For this reason, it undergoes specific treatments to become harmless. It does not comply with the rules of traditional selective collection, using household waste bins, but it’s collected separately according to special procedures. An example is WEEE or used oil, each of which requires a specific collection, treatment, recovery and disposal process, also depending on the type of producer (hazardous waste from household activities, such as WEEE or used cooking oil, is different from hazardous waste generated by industrial processing activities). For their classification and definition, as well as disposal, you shall consult the European regulation 1357/2014 of 18/12/2014, which replaces Annex III of Directive 2008/98/EC. WHAT WASTE IS HAZARDOUS This category may include industrial waste, from tanning and textile production, petroleum refining, the photographic or metallurgical industry, or other chemical processes. They may also include solvents, oil waste, medical and veterinary research waste. However, this class of waste also includes those of civilian origin, such as used batteries and expired medicines. HOW HAZARDOUS WASTE IS DEFINED According to Legislative Decree 192 of 2006, waste is defined as "Any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard". Among these, hazardous waste requires special attention for collection, transportation, and disposal. Depending on the type of substances contained, it receives a specific classification.

HAZARDOUS WASTE: HAZARD CLASSES Hazardous waste is classified according to different hazard classes. HP 1 Explosive: as a result of a chemical reaction, it may develop gases that have a temperature, pressure, or velocity dangerous to persons and property. HP 2 Oxidising: If it comes into contact with oxygen, it may cause other materials to burn. HP 3 Flammable: it may be liquid, solid, gaseous, reactive in contact with water, self-reactive and self-heating. HP 4 Irritant: it may cause eye and skin irritation. HP 5 Harmful: it may be toxic to some target organs in case of exposure or inhalation. HP 6 Toxic: it may be toxic if drunk, inhaled or injected. HP 7 Carcinogenic: it may cause cancer. HP 8 Corrosive: it may corrode skin. HP 9 Infectious: viable microorganisms or toxins that cause disease in humans may be present. HP 10 Teratogenic: it may impair human fertility and reproduction. HP 11 Mutagen: it may lead to genetic mutation of a cell. HP 12 Acute Toxicity Gas Release: it may release toxic gases when in contact with water or acid. HP 13 Sensitising: it contains substances that are sensitising to the skin or respiratory organs.

HP Ecotoxic: it is hazardous to the environment. HP 15 Waste that does not directly possess any of these hazard characteristics but may manifest them at a later time: all those that may present environmental hazards in the future.

Hazardous waste with an infectious risk Infected waste or waste at risk of infection is generally a sanitary waste. These are those materials from infectious isolation environments where there is a risk of airborne biological transmission. They may also include waste contaminated with biological fluids secreted or excreted by patients in infectious isolation. They also include waste from burial, cremation, exhumation, and extumulation. Veterinary waste is also a part of this classification. The law governing its treatment is Presidential Decree 254/03 and, in particular, art. 24 of Law 31 July 2002, no. 179 regulates the management of medical waste.

Agricultural hazardous waste Agricultural waste can also present a degree of hazard. These are mainly used oils produced by engines, brakes, and hydraulic transmissions, used batteries, vehicles, and machinery to be scrapped, plant protection products no longer usable, medicines for livestock no longer usable or expired. Other farm-generated wastes, such as vegetable oil waste, used tires, or plastics, are not included as potentially hazardous.

DUMPING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE The problem of littering or dumping, affects all types of waste but becomes particularly risky for hazardous waste. In fact, in addition to the environmental degradation caused by dumping per se, it has an impact on the environment, quality of life and urban hygiene. Pursuant to the provisions of article 256, paragraph 2, of the Consolidated Environmental Act and Art. 34 of Legislative Decree no. 205/2010, there is a fine ranging from 300 to 3,000 EUR for those who violate the ban on dumping, which doubles in the case of hazardous waste. However, it remains difficult to find the true perpetrators of this crime. When caught, it is thanks to a close investigation and the use of many security forces who have to cope with the difficult investigations required to bring these violations to light.

HOW TO HANDLE HAZARDOUS WASTE Art.190 of Legislative Decree 152/2006 requires those who produce hazardous waste to keep track of it in a special register (quantity, type) that must be made available for consultation to the control authority. To reduce the high environmental impact, it is necessary to treat it in a special way. Depending on its condition and type, it may undergo different types of disposals. For example, some solvents, acids, and bases can still be recovered or regenerated. Other hazardous materials may undergo chemical-physical-biological treatment or be sent for incineration, while some solid wastes may also be landfilled. Before proceeding, they are analysed to determine the most appropriate collection and disposal facility.

HOW TO STORE HAZARDOUS WASTE Storage means the set of disposal activities that provide for both the recovery and the preliminary storage of waste and is regulated by art.183 of Legislative Decree 152/2006. This temporary storage, which is often located at the production site, must, in any case, involve proper separation of the waste and not generate any type of soil, subsoil or water pollution. Throughout the entire treatment chain of these special wastes, from storage to transport to disposal, they are always expected to bear special labelling, which must also mark their storage area and containers in which they are stored. This is the EWC code (European Waste Code), which indicates its origin, source, and type, and in the case of hazardous material is always followed by an *.

HOW TO TRANSPORT HAZARDOUS WASTE Article 193 of the Environmental Consolidation Act also regulates the transport of this class of waste. However, a distinction must be made between hazardous waste according to waste regulations, which have an EWC code followed by an *, and hazardous waste according to ADR, which is assigned a UN number.

HOW TO TRANSPORT HAZARDOUS WASTE The removal from the storage area is carried out by means of vehicles authorised to transport special and hazardous waste, and then stored temporarily to carry out sample analyses that will indicate at which plant it should be delivered. Every year or every 3 months, depending on the quantity, it is transported to appropriate recovery or disposal facilities depending on the nature and hazardousness of the waste. This definitively ends the life cycle of a hazardous or non-hazardous special waste. There are private waste management companies, but large municipal companies also offer this service.

WHERE TO DISPOSE OF HAZARDOUS WASTE Generally, it is necessary to inquire about the presence of appropriate collection centres or contact companies specialised in the disposal. Alcune aziende municipalizzate offrono un servizio di smaltimento a pagamento a domicilio per i privati che vogliono disfarsi di una serie di rifiuti speciali sia pericolosi che non, fornendo anche contenitori ad hoc, conformi alle prescrizioni di legge, e mezzi idonei ed autorizzati. Tra i vari tipi di rifiuti pericolosi figurano: Waste paints

Brake pads

Ink waste

Activated carbon filters

Spent solutions for fixing and bleaching

Blasting powders

Aqueous cleaning solutions

Auto glass

Non-chlorinated emulsions

Scrap vehicles

Spent mineral oils

Adhesives and sealants

Oil and diesel filters

Pickling acids

Spent antifreeze and grease solvents

Various solvents

Solutions for solvent distillation

Dry filters

Rags, pads, clothing

Clean plastic containers


Rock wool

Brake pads


Activated carbon filters


Catalytic converters

Alkaline batteries

Antifreeze liquids

Fuel oils and diesel fuels

Brake fluids

Fuels and blends

Spray cans

WHAT WASTE IS HAZARDOUS WASTE? TYRES: End-of-life tyres are special waste but are not considered hazardous. For this reason, up to 4 tyres per year can be collected at home free of charge (the cost is about 50 euros) or taken to the municipal collection centre, where they will be taken care of. WEEE: Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is deemed an hazardous waste. They usually come from household appliances, such as computers and power tools that are no longer usable or old. Washing machines, refrigerators, cell phones, etc. require separate collection, as they often contain gases and materials that when released into the environment can create serious ecological and human health damage. Monitors, both TVs and old PCs, can also fall into the WEEE category. Refrigerators also fall under the category of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). They are considered hazardous by current regulations due to their significant impact on the environment and the refrigerant gases they contain TONER AND PRINTER CARTRIDGES: Printing toner may or may not be classified as hazardous waste depending on the substances it contains. The same applies to printer cartridges and they follow the same guidelines as toners regarding waste classification. Photocopiers and fax machines also fall into this category. USED BATTERIES: Used batteries and accumulators are hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly. NEON: Neon, such as fluorescent tubes or energy-efficient lamps, can contain hazardous substances such as mercury. Therefore, they must be treated properly and handled with care for proper disposal. EXPIRED DRUGS: These are considered non-hazardous medical waste, so they are governed by the rules on special non-hazardous waste. Only cytotoxic and cytostatic drugs (i.e. capable of destroying cells with which they come into contact, such as chemotherapeutic drugs, for example) are considered hazardous, so they follow ad hoc regulations on hazardous waste. Expired medicines used at home can be collected separately by taking them to the appropriate centres, or to pharmacies and doctors' surgeries equipped with waste bins.

SPENT OILS: All waste oil from industrial processing is classified as hazardous. Even the used frying oils produced in domestic or catering, require not to be dispersed into the environment because of their hazardousness. FERROUS SCRAP: Certain types of scrap metal, ferrous and non-ferrous, cease to be considered hazardous under certain conditions. INERT MATERIALS: Inert waste from building demolition and construction site products are classified as special waste.

TIPS TO FIGHT WASTE DUMPING Selectively dispose of waste Report waste dumping to the municipality of residence or to the managing body Setting a good example and explaining to those who are not aware why it is important not to dump waste in the environment Remove bags or other materials before roadside cleaning with shredders and mowers Avoid burning waste either in fireplaces or boilers or in open places


CDCA Abruzzo 3491357990 abruzzo@cdca.it cdca.abruzzo@gmail.com www.cdcaabruzzoaps.wordpress.com www.contrattodifiumefeltrino.it

Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali Direzione Generale del Terzo Settore e della responsabilità sociale delle imprese