Violence and terror

Dipl.-Ing.(TU) Werner P. Bauer

Considering today's news, it is difficult for me to focus on waste management issues in our WtERT newsletter. Precisely because I believe that everything is connected. Excessive consumption leads to immense mountains of waste. If they are thrown away into valleys or onto uninhabited land, nature and groundwater will be destroyed in the medium term. Managed landfills also emit vast amounts of methane during their operation, which contributes more than CO2 to climate heating. Local changes and extreme situations lead to emergencies that cause people to flee. Battles over resources such as water, phosphorus and raw materials will increase.

Back to landfill: Scientifically recognized1 is an average of 0.05 Mg of methane per 1 Mg of waste. With 1.2 trillion tons of waste dumped annually in landfills according to the World Bank, this adds up to 60 million Mg of methane or 1.5 trillion tons of CO2 per year. Those who call for waste reduction, on the other hand, are doing the right thing and should nevertheless remain realistic in face of the task at hand.
In his APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION "LAUDATE DEUM" from 2023 October 4th Pope Francis writes:
71. Efforts by households to reduce pollution and waste, and to consume with prudence, are creating a new culture. The mere fact that personal, family and community habits are changing is contributing to greater concern about the unfulfilled responsibilities of the political sectors and indignation at the lack of interest shown by the powerful. Let us realize, then, that even though this does not immediately produce a notable effect from the quantitative standpoint, we are helping to bring about large processes of transformation rising from deep within society.
72. If we consider that emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries2, we can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact. As a result, along with indispensable political decisions, we would be making progress along the way to genuine care for one another.
This text shows both the urgency and the dimension of this cultural change. At the latest, the growth of society and its increasing demands demonstrate the need for sustainable waste management. Anyone who still doubts that landfills are the largest sources of methane3 should read the article on "California's methane super-emitters" in Nature.
It takes all the tools to move toward "Zero Waste to Landfill" better today than tomorrow. The most powerful tool for this are modern thermal recovery plants, combined with effective recycling of recoverable materials. If waste-to-energy plants succeed in replacing existing coal-fired power plants, this will also be associated with the transformation of the energy and heat supply, and further GHG emissions can be reduced.
Keep a clear view of the realities. Besides violence and terror, there is also too much deliberate misinformation and fake news in the world.
Werner Bauer
Member of Board of Directors of GWC
1 N.J.Themelis 2023, How much methane is generated by the global landfilling of urban wastes? | WMW in
2 Cf. UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM, The Emissions Gap Report 2022:
3. In


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