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Solid And Hazardous Waste Courses Targeted To The Developing World

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula II

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1288.1 - 12.1288.6



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Paper Authors


Angela Bielefeldt University of Colorado at Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado - Boulder (CU) in the Department of Civil, Environmental, & Architectural Engineering. She is the Director of the multi-disciplinary Environmental Engineering Program, which offers an ABET-accredited B.S. degree. Bielefeldt is also active in the Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) Program at CU.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Solid and Hazardous Waste Course targeted to the Developing World


This paper compares and contrasts three courses related to Solid and Hazardous Waste Management: one new course module on Hazardous Waste that was taught at the UNESCO Institute for Water Education to 21 students from around the world in Summer 2006, and the traditional Solid and Hazardous Waste courses taught in the U.S. as part of the B.S. and M.S. programs. The UNESCO course module was geared to emphasize hazardous waste problems and approaches that are appropriate in the developing world. Traditionally, the U.S. courses focus on issues common in industrialized countries. However, some of the UNESCO course content can be added to U.S. courses to broaden the students’ perspective and prepare them for work in a more global setting. Student attitudes about hazardous waste upon entering the course are contrasted for American vs. international students.


Hazardous waste is an issue of global importance. However, there are some notable differences in the most critical challenges facing the developing world and the developed world, specifically the U.S. After teaching a course on Hazardous Waste Management to graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Colorado - Boulder for eight years and a Solid Waste Management course for four years, in summer 2006 I had the opportunity to teach a module on Hazardous Waste in a Solid Waste course at UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education ( in Delft, The Netherlands. The opportunity to refocus my traditional lectures on issues that are most pressing in the developing world was of interest, and the experience indicated content that might be useful to include in courses at my home university in the future. Key readings for the UNESCO course were recently-published journal articles rather than a traditional textbook, as most of the texts on hazardous waste focus on issues that are primarily of concern in industrialized countries. The student attitudes about hazardous wastes were also different when entering the courses, and these attitudes are contrasted.

One key area of concern is the export of hazardous and industrial wastes from industrialized countries into developing countries.1,2 This continues to occur in spite of the Basel Convention. Much of this waste transport is electronic materials (E-waste) that are shipped from the U.S. and Europe into Asian countries under the guise of recycling.3,4 However, unsafe working conditions and the lack of environmentally sound disposal practices after extraction of high value materials is cause for concern. For example, Guiyu, China, is a community whose economy is almost entirely driven by the extraction of materials from computers and monitors for recycling. This activity has resulted in significant environmental degradation.3 Another concern is the use of pesticides in developing countries that have been banned in other places; for example, DDT and lindane. 5 The public is generally unaware or unconcerned that pesticides may pose unwanted side-effects, noting primarily the short-term benefits that are gained by their use. Beyond this, many of the hazardous wastes are generated by small and medium scale industries, such as automobile service shops and gas stations, lead-acid battery manufacturing/recycling, and paint

Bielefeldt, A. (2007, June), Solid And Hazardous Waste Courses Targeted To The Developing World Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1931

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