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Waste management and climate change

How do we dispose our wastes in the context of protecting the environment? This issue has now become a part of educational programme at university level in Latvia, with the support from NILU scientists.

Kyrre Sundseth
Scientist Kyrre Sundseth, NILU. Photo: Ingunn Trones, NILU

NILU and The Waste Management Association of Latvia (WMAL) have cooperated in developing the professional educational programme module, aiming to shed light on how anthropogenic processes such as waste and wastewater management impact climate change.

The NILU scientists have also contributed to the educational material designed for the course, aiming to support and increase professional knowledge in waste, water, energy and agricultural management sectors and local government.

Cooperation is needed

As part of the programme, open lecture discussions, were held at the University of Daugavpils, the Liepaja University and the Ventspils University College in February and March. In April, lectures will be held at the University of Latvia and at the Latvian University of Agriculture. The objective of these events are to inform the public about how anthropogenic processes such as waste and waste water management affect climate change, and how they may contribute to reduce GHG emissions.

– At present, climate change is the major environmental challenge, states NILU scientist Kyrre Sundseth in the introductory chapter of the educational material.

– The impacts of climate change on environment and human health that we observe today, fully justify our concerns about the effects of climate change on the global environment and human wellbeing in the future, Sundseth continue.

– Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales, and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link adaptation and mitigation with other societal objectives.

Waste matters

Faksimile av brosjyre
The education material developed in the project covers a wide range of issues, from climate policy to anthropogenic causes and solutions to overcome them.

– One of the consequences of climate change that recently have started to gain attention is its potential to alter the environmental distribution and biological effects of chemical toxicants, states Jozef Pacyna in his lecture about climate change.

Professor Pacyna is the research director at NILU’s department of Environmental Impacts and Economics (IMPEC), and continues to explain that it is also becoming clear that climate change, coupled with air pollutant exposures, may have serious consequences on human health.

The project “The promotion of the knowledge and insight of the climate change caused by such anthropogenic processes as waste and wastewater management” (ID number: 2/EEZLV02/14/GS/046/008) is financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism.


More information about the project and the guest-lectures: