The potential monetary benefits of reclaiming hazardous waste sites in the Campania region: an economic evaluation.

Guerriero, C; Cairns, J; (2009) The potential monetary benefits of reclaiming hazardous waste sites in the Campania region: an economic evaluation. Environ Health, 8. p. 28. ISSN 1476-069X DOI:

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BACKGROUND: Evaluating the economic benefit of reducing negative health outcomes resulting from waste management is of pivotal importance for designing an effective waste policy that takes into account the health consequences for the populations exposed to environmental hazards. Despite the high level of Italian and international media interest in the problem of hazardous waste in Campania little has been done to reclaim the land and the waterways contaminated by hazardous waste. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to reduce the uncertainty about health damage due to waste exposure by providing for the first time a monetary valuation of health benefits arising from the reclamation of hazardous waste dumps in Campania. METHODS: First the criteria by which the landfills in the Campania region, in particular in the two provinces of Naples and Caserta, have been classified are described. Then, the annual cases of premature death and fatal cases of cancers attributable to waste exposure are quantified. Finally, the present value of the health benefits from the reclamation of polluted land is estimated for each of the health outcomes (premature mortality, fatal cancer and premature mortality adjusted for the cancer premium). Due to the uncertainty about the time frame of the benefits arising from reclamation, the latency of the effects of toxic waste on human health and the lack of context specific estimates of the Value of Preventing a Fatality (VPF), extensive sensitivity analyses are performed. RESULTS: There are estimated to be 848 cases of premature mortality and 403 cases of fatal cancer per year as a consequence of exposure to toxic waste. The present value of the benefit of reducing the number of waste associated deaths after adjusting for a cancer premium is euro11.6 billion. This value ranges from euro5.4 to euro20.0 billion assuming a time frame for benefits of 10 and 50 years respectively. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that there is a strong economic argument for both reclaiming the land contaminated with hazardous waste in the two provinces of Naples and Caserta and increasing the control of the territory in order to avoid the creation of new illegal dump sites.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 19552811
Web of Science ID: 268165800001


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