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Waste Manag. 2012 May;32(5):890-900. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2011.12.010. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

Projecting the environmental profile of Singapore's landfill activities: Comparisons of present and future scenarios based on LCA.

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Institute of Chem. & Engr. Sciences, 1 Pesek Road, Jurong Island, Singapore 627833, Singapore.


This article aims to generate the environmental profile of Singapore's Semakau landfill by comparing three different operational options associated with the life cycle stages of landfilling activities, against a 'business as usual' scenario. Before life cycle assessment or LCA is used to quantify the potential impacts from landfilling activities, an attempt to incorporate localized and empirical information into the amounts of ash and MSW sent to the landfill was made. A linear regression representation of the relationship between the mass of waste disposed and the mass of incineration ash generated was modeled from waste statistics between years 2004 and 2009. Next, the mass of individual MSW components was projected from 2010 to 2030. The LCA results highlighted that in a 'business as usual' scenario the normalized total impacts of global warming, acidification and human toxicity increased by about 2% annually from 2011 to 2030. By replacing the 8000-tonne barge with a 10000-tonne coastal bulk carrier or freighter (in scenario 2) a grand total reduction of 48% of both global warming potential and acidification can be realized by year 2030. Scenario 3 explored the importance of having a Waste Water Treatment Plant in place to reduce human toxicity levels - however, the overall long-term benefits were not as significant as scenario 2. It is shown in scenario 4 that the option of increased recycling championed over all other three scenarios in the long run, resulting in a total 58% reduction in year 2030 for the total normalized results. A separate comparison of scenarios 1-4 is also carried out for energy utilization and land use in terms of volume of waste occupied. Along with the predicted reductions in environmental burdens, an additional bonus is found in the expanded lifespan of Semakau landfill from year 2032 (base case) to year 2039. Model limitations and suggestions for improvements were also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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