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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Post-earthquake solid waste management strategy (for the city of Vancouver and surrounding area) Wojtarowicz, Margaret

Abstract

The Lower Mainland of British Columbia faces a high risk of a devastating seismic event occurring at any moment. Such damaging earthquakes generate tremendous amounts of disaster debris, and present great challenges for the solid waste management system. Global experience with disasters has indicated that preplanning and mitigation are of substantial value in earthquake response, recovery and reconstruction. The current lack of such measures has extensive socio-economic and environmental repercussions, and grave solid waste management implications. Consequently, a strategy for the cleanup of all solid waste generated during an earthquake, as well as during the recovery stages, was developed for the Lower Mainland. The need for a post-earthquake municipal solid waste management strategy, and a separate strategy for disaster debris is identified. The main feature of the former is the strategy's dependence on the current solid waste management system. The main premise of the latter is the recognition of the similarity in waste characteristics and handling requirements between disaster debris and demolition, landclearing and construction waste. The proposed Post-Earthquake Solid Waste Management Plan (Plan) presents an Action Plan Procedure (Action Plan), recommends Preplanning Actions, and identifies Strategy Options. The Plan also acknowledges the necessity for finalizing an Operational Plan once an earthquake occurs and the damage is known. The Action Plan, which is independent of the magnitude and time frame of an earthquake event, provides a framework for developing the Operational Plan. The Preplanning Actions identify the tasks that should be undertaken prior to an earthquake occurrence, in order to facilitate the recovery effort. The Strategy Options Report (Report) provides a sample waste characterization scheme, an action prioritization scheme, various handling options, and a number of decision-making criteria. Furthermore, the Report proposes a series of procedures that address five damage severity scenarios. In conclusion, the proposed Plan confirms that earthquake related solid waste management issues must be addressed on a regional basis. Unconventional and alternative solid waste management methods should be researched and considered for utility in earthquake recovery. Narrow scope and prescribed methodology are advantageous to the preparation of a management plan.

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