Exploring the potential impact of waste disposal sites in contamination of the ocean ecosystem of Newfoundland and Labrador: A geospatial analysis and a study of public perception
Rashmi Hazarikaa , Atanu Sarkar a , Baiyu Helen Zhangb, Gopal Achari c
a Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland
b Department of Civil Engineering, Memorial University of Newfoundland
c Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Calgary
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Rashmi is a current graduate student of Community Health in the Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland. She also holds a Master’s degree in Geoinformatics from TERI University in New Delhi, India, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Remote Sensing and GIS from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, and completed her undergraduate degree in Geography at Cotton College in Guwahati, Assam, India.
Her research interest lies in the integration of environmental health with community health & well-being, sustainability, and remote sensing and gis applications in natural resource management. She has prior experience working on National Remote Sensing Center, India-funded research projects involving wetland management and conservation, mapping of land use and land cover, and evaluation of forest cover change in the Indian state of Assam. She has more than four years of professional experience. While pursuing her master’s degree at Memorial, she completed a training program offered by Columbia University on machine learning and analyzing biomedical and health data.
Her current Master’s thesis work focuses on exploring the potential impact of waste disposal sites in contaminating the ocean ecosystem of Newfoundland and Labrador. The study used geospatial analysis to determine the high and low-vulnerable waste disposal sites using different environmental parameters (topography, hydrogeology, soil, land use – land cover, and groundwater vulnerability data) and also addressed public perception and opinion on the potential environmental and health effects of waste disposal sites on waterbodies and the ocean ecosystem of Newfoundland and Labrador.
One of the major environmental and public health issues in today’s world is the proper location for the dumping of solid waste. This study presents a GIS-based analysis and vulnerability assessment of historic(closed) and operational landfill/waste disposal sites located within the coastal province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Remote sensing and GIS data can provide information about the land’s situation (land use and cover), as well as the geography of the terrain (including its elevation, slope, and drainage system). These parameters can then be analyzed to determine how vulnerable waste disposal sites are to the environment. This study relied on Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM)/AHP and geospatial analysis to identify highly vulnerable and least vulnerable waste disposal sites using various factors (topography, hydrogeology, soil, land use – land cover, and groundwater vulnerability) in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is also quite apparent that any environmental and social issue that involves public engagement can increase social fairness, identify problems, and ensure that the general people’s concerns and aspirations are consistently acknowledged and taken into consideration by decision-makers. Therefore, The study also addressed public perception and opinion on the potential environmental and health effects of waste disposal sites on waterbodies and the ocean ecosystem of Newfoundland and Labrador by conducting interviews with community members, town councilors, mayors, landfill managers, public health officials, environmental scientists, and engineers, provincial government officials, recyclers, and waste disposal service providers.