Environmental Impact Assessment EIA of Landfill of municipal waste in Urmia city using rapid assessment matrix method (RIAM)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

2 School of Mining Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: With uncontrolled population growth, the safe disposal of waste is a major problem for metropolises. The issue of landfills and their location is at the end of the waste disposal life cycle. Waste burial is the most common method of disposal in urban communities of Iran and other countries of the world. Consequently, its environmental impact assessment is very important to reduce the negative environmental impact. Therefore, in this study, the environmental effects of the Urmia landfill utilizing the RIAM method were evaluated.
Material and methods: In this study, to assess the environmental impact, field information was collected from the landfill of Urmia city. Then, the effect of different activities in the project was evaluated by the RIAM method. Also, important and influential factors have been classified by a group of environmental experts into four sections: physico-chemical, biological-ecological, cultural-social, and economic-operational. Each factor is scored based on the importance of the situation and the time value. The scoring method is such that by multiplying the criteria related to the importance of the situation, the total value of these criteria is determined. Also, for the provisional value criteria, its sub-criteria are summed. After obtaining these criteria, by multiplying these two criteria, the environmental score (ES) of the project is calculated.
Results and discussion: Based on the study, it was observed that the highest negative score for biological-ecological components was -402 if the disposal continued in this way. Also, the lowest negative score amongst other available components for economic-operational components was equal to -109. The only positive point was related to the socio-cultural components which are part of subsistence. Also, the score for physico-chemical components and socio-cultural components were -351 and -114, respectively. The reasons for these negative scores are the lack of proper attention to the volume of waste produced by the people, the lack of a leachate treatment system, the lack of vegetation in the municipal waste landfill, unprincipled, and unsanitary waste burial, transportation distance, etc. Disposal operations with the current method, in addition to creating environmental pollution, are also very costly. Most of the cost of this method is spent on transportation, manpower and excavation, and earthmoving operations. In addition to these financial costs, unfortunately, in recent years, with the disappearance of agricultural lands around the municipal landfill, people have migrated from the surrounding villages. This causes a lot of pollution and prevents the conversion and recycling of waste.
Conclusion: The results of this study showed that if waste disposal operations continue in the same trend, irreparable environmental damage will be inflicted on the region's ecosystem. To prevent these damages, it is necessary to provide practical solutions and in the management, the department should review the continuation of this method. Also, due to the landfill and waste disposal operations reaching their limit, it is suggested that if a new place for waste disposal is selected, it should be based on studies in the fields of geology, botany, geotechnics, etc. It also seems that the establishment of a waste recycling plant can be a great help in reducing the volume of waste.


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