Public perception of odour and environmental pollution attributed to MSW treatment and disposal facilities: A case study
De Feo G, De Gisi S., Williams I.D.
Paper International Journal with referee
If residents’ perceptions, concerns and attitudes towards waste management facilities are either not well understood or underestimated, people can produce strong opposition that may include protest demonstrations and violent conflicts such as those experienced in the Campania Region of Italy. The aim of this study was to verify the effects of the closure of solid waste treatment and disposal facilities (two landfills and one RDF production plant) on public perception of odour and environmental pollution. The study took place in four villages in Southern Italy. Identical questionnaires were administered to residents during 2003 and after the closure of the facilities occurred in 2008. The residents’ perception of odour nuisance considerably diminished between 2003 and 2009 for the nearest villages, with odour perception showing an association with distance from the facilities. Post closure, residents had difficulty in identifying the type of smell due to the decrease in odour level. During both surveys, older residents reported most concern about the potentially adverse health impacts of long-term exposure to odours from MSW facilities. However, although awareness of MSW facilities and concern about potentially adverse health impacts varied according to the characteristics of residents in 2003, substantial media coverage produced an equalisation effect and increased knowledge about the type of facilities and how they operated. It is possible that residents of the village nearest to the facilities reported lower awareness of and concern about odour and environmental pollution because the municipality received economic compensation for their presence.
De Feo G, De Gisi S., Williams I.D. (2013), Waste Management, Volume 33, Issue 4, April 2013, pages 974-987.