The COVID-19 pandemic has placed considerable pressure on the waste management system. The slowing down of a series of industrial activities and the shutting down of yet others, together with the closure of foreign markets have prevented separately collected wastes from finding an appropriate collocation. This in turn has led to a saturation of storage both in recycling plants and, in some cases, in thermal treatment plants. An inverse situation has been created with regard to medical wastes, which in some contexts have increased three-fold, with the related management being on the verge of collapsing due to the unexpected deluge of volumes to be handled.
The most important consequence is that our waste management system can be unprepared and, therefore, it can be necessary to rethink our consolidated beliefs regarding plants in particular, and circular economy in general.
The health emergency is not the only emergency that results in a significant variation in the quantity and quality of waste to be disposed of. Developing effective emergency plans for extraordinary waste management, in relation to any possible emergency, is of crucial importance.
Sardinia 2021 will provide an occasion to discuss these aspects and to exchange views and experiences from different parts of the world. To this regard, we have opened a Call for Abstracts on Waste Management in Emergencies. Authors interested in sending their proposal for a presentation on this topic can submit their paper (either short or full) using the online submission form.
Workshop proposals on this topis are welcome.