Plasma Can Change The Environment More Than You’d Think

One of the most common methods of solid waste disposal is using incinerators, which essentially burn down municipal and medical waste to reduce their toxic potential and prevent them from hurting the environment. Incinerators are widely used across the world, and the energy produced during the process is also highly coveted. Despite that, there are a few serious health concerns associated with incineration. Likewise, the combustion that happens in an incinerator also produces hazardous chemicals like oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, dioxins, furans, lead mercury, and chlorinated organic compounds, among others.

Incinerators need to be operated with a high degree of care and precision when it comes to variables like combustion temperature and pressure in order to ensure that they do not produce harmful chemicals that are a by-product of partial combustion, as explained in “Waste Incineration and Public Health.” To negate the impact, resources like electrostatic precipitators, wet scrubbers, dry-sorbent injections, and similar are required to safely dispose of various chemicals produced during the process, but they don’t come cheap.

That, coupled with the lack of technical expertise, can be a huge obstacle to safely running waste incineration plants in developing countries. Studies suggest that waste incineration can lead to health issues such as cancer, respiratory problems, congenital abnormalities, neurological irregularities, hormonal irregularities, and miscarriage, to name a few. Moreover, they can further exacerbate environmental problems like the acidification of water bodies and global warming, not to mention chemically impacting the ozone layer, triggering eutrophication, and creating photochemical smog.


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