Review article: Persistent organic pollutants and landfills – a review of past experiences and future challenges
The landfilling and dumping of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other persistent hazardous compounds can have significant adverse environmental consequences. POPs will persist in landfills for many decades and possibly centuries. The build up in the food chain can ultimately reach humans, causing health impacts for current and future generations.
This paper reviews past experiences with such disposal practices and highlights their unsustainability due to the risks of contamination of ecosystems, the food chain, together with ground and drinking water supplies. This review highlights the necessity for alternative disposal methods for POP wastes, including destruction or complete removal from potential environmental release. There are further complications on a global level as developing and transition countries do not have appropriate technology or capacity to manage and destroy their hazardous waste. This means in the future such waste may need to be exported to countries with appropriate destruction capacity.