Waste management (WM) is a demanding undertaking in all countries, with important implications for human health, environmental preservation, sustainability and circular economy. The method of sanitary landfilling for final disposal of waste remains a generally accepted and used method but the available scientific evidence on the waste-related environmental and health effects is not conclusive. Comparative studies of various WM methods (landfilling, incineration, composting etc.) show that among the municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment and disposal technological options, sanitary landfilling or open dumping is popular in most countries because of the relative low cost and low-technical requirement. The European Union (EU) Directive on waste landfills has introduced specific goals for reducing the volume of disposed waste and very strict requirements for landfilling and landfill sites. Evaluation of the impact of landfills on the environment is a crucial topic in the literature and has received increased attention recently, given growing environmental concerns. The main goal of this survey was to conduct a comprehensive assessment of possible impacts of MSW landfills on the environment. The main conclusion of the overall assessment of the literature is that the disposal of MSW in landfills entails a number of environmental risks but with respect to the current situation and rich style of living adopted in industrially developed countries, the idea of WM systems functioning without landfilling—at least in the foreseeable future within one generation—seems to be somewhat unreal. The results also provided important information of landfills as a source of environmental risk. Results of this research may have an important impact on landfill management and the disposal of waste. From the literature review, it is evident that even if high levels of waste avoidance, reuse and recycling are achieved, some waste materials will always need to be forwarded for disposal.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited