Academic journal article
By Abduli, Mohammad Ali; Bidhendi, Gholamreza Nabi; Nasrabadi, Touraj; Hoveidi, Hassan
Journal of Environmental Health , Vol. 70, No. 5
The Caspian region (including Golestan, Mazandaran, and Guilan provinces of Iran) is one of the most important Iranian zones with respect to domestic and international tourism. The Caspian Sea is the most outstanding natural feature in this region. Recreational benefits as well as commercial products, caviar in particular, are highly susceptible to environmental deterioration. In addition, the presence of valuable forests and grasslands, and the fact that this region is the only area in the country where important agricultural crops like rice, tea, and olives can be grown in large quantities, justify protecting the area from anthropogenic pollution. To meet the need for sustainable-development infrastructure, efforts must be made to preserve the ecosystems of the region.
The ever-increasing rates of wastewater and solid waste generation, combined with the lack of appropriate land and resource commitment for modern sanitary landfill construction in this region, has become a challenging environmental problem. The lack of a systematic solid waste management plan has put the region on the edge of irreparable environmental damage. The large numbers and the dispersion of open-dumping landfills, as well as the faded role of functional elements like waste minimization and processing, have increased the environmental deterioration.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The study area is located approximately between 48[degrees] 26' and 56[degrees] 20' north latitudes. Figure 1 shows the study area in relation to Iran's total area.
The Caspian region occupies approximately 58,678 square kilometers, or 3.6 percent of Iran's total area. The total population of the area in 1996 was approximately 6,270,100--10.4 percent of Iran's total population--and is expected to surpass 7 million by the year 2007. High population density in the region is a critical factor in the increasing need for effective municipal solid waste management. In total, the Caspian region has 102 cities and an urban population of about 3,420,000 according to the census of 1996.
Recently, attention to the environmental impact of solid waste has increased in Iran. Consequently, solid waste management has become remarkably important (Abduli, 1994). Solid waste covers a wide range of materials and comes from a variety of sources (Tchobanoglous, Eliassen, & Theisen, 1977). Over the past decades, the quantity and composition of municipal solid waste in the cities of the Caspian region of northern Iran have changed considerably, but the methods of collection, transport, and disposal are still primitive (Abduli, 1993). Open dumping is the only method which is in practice in all cities of the region. As a result the Caspian region is facing serious environmental problems.
In order to determine the present status of municipal solid waste management (MSWM) in the region, the authors sampled 10 major cities: Gonbad Kavous and Gorgan in the Golestan province; Qaemshahr, Sari, Babol, Ramsar, and Chalous in the Mazandaran province; and Rasht, Lihijan, and Bandar Anzali in the Guilan province.
Waste sampling was carried out for 10 successive days in the middle of each of the four seasons in 2002-2003. On each sampling day, 18 samples of 1 cubic meter were taken from specified stations in each of the 10 cities. Sampling and sample preparations were conducted according to the American Public Works Association procedure for chemical and physical analysis of refuse and compost (American Public Works Association, 1966). For chemical analysis, dried solid waste samples were ground and homogenized. These samples were taken to the laboratory of the Environmental Research Institute of Tehran University for processing.
Results and Discussion
Every day in these three provinces, 2,550 metric tons of waste are generated. Municipal solid waste generation is described in Table 1. As indicated in Table 1, 27. …