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Risks Associated with Waste Management Projects. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

With the advancement of civilization and reckless use of natural resources human activities have created a profound impact on environment. However, one of the most pressing problems of today's generation is managing waste which is created in this process. Depending upon the type of waste created, waste management projects need to tackle a range of associated risks. Some of the risks imposed are generic in nature and applicable to nearly all types of waste management projects. However, each specific project may inherit its own risk factors that may be more unique in nature depending upon the waste management technique that is used. In order to keep the risks under control the waste management sector is strictly regulated.

A broad appreciation of the regulations helps management to scope the risks to a certain extent. However, management needs to take into consideration a wide variety of risks in order to undertake waste management projects. This paper explores some of these risks that are associated with waste management projects. The paper discusses risks associated with waste under three categories namely environmental risks; social risks and economics risks. This paper addresses both generic and more specific kind of risks associated with waste management projects. The specific risks relate to the type of waste being handle and the technology being used.

In case of yet another method of waste disposal such as combustion, the type of environmental risks involved differs considerably. Combustion is yet another process of reducing the waste weight and volume. It is also referred to as 'waste-to-energy' facilities or 'incineration'. The energy that is released as a result of this combustion is also used up. Although this is a cheaper option, the recent growing concern of green house gas emissions is making this option less environmental friendly. However, the risks associated with processing waste in this manner are comparatively less. This is partly due to the extensive regulations, which covers this type of waste management techniques (LGEAN, 2007). The usual risk is related to the re-use of the ash. This ash may be used for road constructions and filling open pits of mines. However, when ash is used in the production of concrete and or roads, there is concern about the potential leaching that may take place from the ash affecting local groundwater sources (LGEAN, 2007). Currently, there is active debate on the suitability of this technique in comparison with landfills (Eschenroeder & Stackelberg, 1991).

From the above discussion it can be concluded that waste management projects impose a certain level of risks for the management. These risks are varied and depend upon the type of waste handled, the technology used and to a certain extent the context in which such projects function. They can be broadly classified as environmental risks, social risks and financial risks. These types of risks are not mutually exclusive, they are but overlapping in nature. They can escalate from a local scale to regional scale. Certain environmental risks, such as green house gas emissions are of a global scale and efficient waste management strategy at local level can go a long way in tackling such issues. With proper planning and understanding, most of the risks can be avoided. It is crucial for the management to be aware of the type of waste that is being handled, the end users of the by-product (if at all), of the waste and the disposal method that is used. Understanding legislation requirement especially for controlled waste is usually a good way for the management to scope risks associated with a particular waste management project. Slight adjustments and careful considerations of the usage of techniques and management strategies can go a long way in risk reduction if not total avoidance.

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