#Closedumpsites News

ISWA’s Task Force on Closing Dumpsites – an Editorial by James Law and David Ross

James Law is Chair of ISWA’S Task Force on Closing Dumpsites and & Working Group on Landfill. He is also Project Director at SCS Engineers


David Ross is Associate Editor for ISWA’s Journal, Waste Management and Research. He was also Senior Vice President at SCS Engineers (retired)

24 May 2019 -

ISWA has determined that uncontrolled dumpsites hold 40% of the world’s waste and that the world’s 50 biggest dumpsites directly affect the daily lives of 64 million people, equivalent to the population of France. ISWA’s research has explained the urgency of eliminating dumpsites. It’s an issue which is affecting local, regional, and even global health and the environment. Important findings indicate that 38 out of the 50 biggest dumpsites directly impact marine and coastal areas and can become sources of disease outbreaks and the release of wastes (particularly durable plastics) to waterways and the oceans.

Studies suggest that non-engineered dumps and uncontrolled landfills are the third largest source of global anthropogenic methane, a greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2), accelerating climate change. It is estimated that open dumps emit the equivalent of more than 20 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year. Without any action, it is projected that existing open dumps will account for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

Dumpsites are a global health and environmental emergency. The health and environmental impacts of dumpsites are preventable, manageable and avoidable and ISWA has the knowledge and expertise to make a change.

Therefore, in 2018, ISWA’s Task Force on Closing Dumpsites (TFCD) was established to bring together ISWA’s vast knowledge and expertise on the topic. In an editorial for the June edition of ISWA’S Journal, Waste Management & Research, James and David explain the importance of ISWA’s Initiative and outline the next steps.


The article is available on open access through ISWA's Journal, Waste Management & Research here.

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