MSW Dumping Sites - Always in Need, Nowhere to Sit
"The Biosphere" Vol. 23
Tzvi Levinson, attorney at law
On June 6th, 1993 the government of Israel decided to close down the hundreds of small MSW dumping sites and to concentrate MSW in a limited number of sites on a regional basis. While everybody acknowledges the pressing need for MSW dumping sites, all the same, a major obstacle in the government's way to implement its decision is local objections to the siting. These objections are often prejudicial and emotional rather than rational and based on facts - the complex geo-hydrological, environmental, engineering and legal data going into the shaping of a siting decision. And yet many real nuisances may plague a near-by population if careful thought is not given to their prevention. The NIMBY effect is, of course, not limited to the siting of MSW dumps, but accompanies also that of WWTPs, power-generation facilities and hazardous waste treatment plants. Following are some suggestions for measures that may mitigate the NIMBY effect: Local population ought to play a part in the siting process, have full access to the information and data upon which the siting decision was based and give vent to their worries and observations. Independent expert advice may be hired to advise the public on the environmental and professional problems associated with designing, constructing and operating the site. A restitution mechanism may be created as an insurance and to constitute a fund for controlling nuisances. Certain benefits may be accorded to a Municipality that will express its agreement to "host" an MSW dumping site. Local government may be authorized to monitor the site. An ADR mechanism may suggested to settle any disputes that may arise.