Chemicals and waste

The management of chemicals and waste is a crucial aspect of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all" by 2030. These goals were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030. They address global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

SDG 12, which focuses on Responsible Consumption and Production, is directly related to the management of chemicals and waste. This goal aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, which includes the environmentally sound management of chemicals and waste. The mismanagement of these elements can have severe environmental and health impacts, thus undermining the objectives of SDG 12.

One of the critical links between chemical and waste management and the SDGs is to human health, as outlined in SDG 3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Improper handling and disposal of chemicals and waste can lead to pollution and contamination, which can have direct adverse effects on human health. This includes increased risks of diseases, long-term health conditions, and impacts on the well-being of communities, especially those living in close proximity to waste disposal sites or industrial areas.

The impact of waste management also extends to climate change, addressed in SDG 13. Excessive waste generation, particularly organic waste in landfills, contributes to the production of greenhouse gases like methane, a potent contributor to global warming. Additionally, the production and disposal of plastics, electronic waste, and other non-biodegradable materials contribute significantly to carbon emissions. Effective management and reduction of waste are essential to mitigate climate change impacts.

The preservation of life below water (SDG 14) and life on land (SDG 15) is also heavily influenced by how chemicals and waste are managed. Pollution from chemicals and waste can severely impact aquatic ecosystems, harming marine life and biodiversity. Similarly, terrestrial ecosystems and wildlife are at risk from land pollution and habitat destruction caused by improper waste disposal and chemical spills.

Furthermore, SDG 8, which focuses on promoting sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all, is impacted by the management of chemicals and waste. Workers in industries dealing with chemicals and waste are often exposed to hazardous conditions. Ensuring their safety and health is a key aspect of achieving this goal. Moreover, sustainable waste management can create new job opportunities and contribute to economic growth through recycling and waste-to-energy sectors.

The effective and environmentally sound management of chemicals and waste is not only essential for achieving SDG 12 but also intersects with several other SDGs. It is a fundamental component of sustainable development, impacting human health, climate change, biodiversity, and economic growth. Addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach, encompassing strict regulatory frameworks, technological innovation, public awareness, and international cooperation to ensure a sustainable future.


Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 102, January 2022

Assesses road markings as a source of microplastic pollution

Emerging Contaminants in the Environment: Challenges and Sustainable Practices, Volume 1, 1 January 2022

This chapter aligns with Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation and Goal 14: Life below water by prodiving an overview of environmental plastic abundance, sources and mitigation strategies.

Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 32, December 2021

Graphical abstract

Microplastics (MPs) are found in all conceivable media from air, sediments, soils, freshwater, seawater, and organisms, including humans. This paper emphasizes current advances in the study of MPs and presents a review of recent two years of literature on the occurrence and fate of these particles in the environment. The occurrence and fate of MPs are affected by their characteristics and interaction with the media in the environment, including particle mobility and transport processes.

This chapter explores case studies of ground water contamination (SDG 6) in West Bengal and solutions for mitigating it via innovative drilling techniques.

Handbook of Algal Biofuels. Aspects of Cultivation, Conversion, and Biorefinery, 2022, Pages 167-179

This chapter advances SDGs 6 & 7 by describing the use of halophilic algae for the desalination of seawater for drinking and other uses.
Introduction: Air pollution may play an important role in the development of lung cancer in people who have never smoked, especially among East Asian women. The aim of this study was to compare cumulative ambient air pollution exposure between ever and never smokers with lung cancer. Methods: A consecutive case series of never and ever smokers with newly diagnosed lung cancer were compared regarding their sex, race, and outdoor and household air pollution exposure.

Clean Energy and Resource Recovery. Wastewater Treatment Plants as Biorefineries, Volume 2, 2022, Pages 301-314

This chapter advances SDGs 6 & 7 by examining the potential for wastewater to be converted into a renewable fossil-fuel alternative.
In this episode of the “World We Want” podcast series, RELX’s Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Dr. Márcia Balisciano, talks to Helen McGeough about plastics and circular economy.

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations annual climate change conference. COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU). The 2021 conference, hosted by the UK, together with our partners Italy, in Glasgow, will be the 26th meeting of the Parties, which is why it's called COP26.

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 31, October 2021
Energy production and CO2 emissions are strictly connected. One of the most efficient and straightforward mitigations to the climate change is the conversion of CO2 into chemicals that may play the role of energy vectors in a carbon-based energy cycle. Practical aspects of using abundant and low-cost materials are crucial for real-world applications, in particular redox catalysts with high turnover number, selectivity, and efficiency to overcome the CO2 stability.