Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig 1996, 47(1): 105-119

Dioksyny w procesie spalania odpadów komunalnych - zagrożenia, normy, rzeczywistość i przeciwdziałanie
[Dioxins in municipal waste incineration process - threats, standards, contemporary research and counteractions]

T. Pająk


Within the group of organochlorine, posing a positive danger the natural environment, the most interesting, controversial and objectionable for ecologist are dioxins. In professional journals the name „dioxins” is a simplification which commonly refers to a certain group of organic chemical compounds, or, to be more precise, their derivatives called polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). The latest research has confirmed the existence of yet another group of similiar character polybrominated and polyfluorinated. Though other sources of industrial dioxins emission exist their first and foremost sources are incineration processes, in particular the processes of municipal, hospital and other toxic and chemical waste incineration. The compounds mentioned above, but all their isomers - tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), tetrachlorodibenzofuran (TCDF) - are highly toxic and lack of emission control may prove highly hazardouss for health and natural environment. The paper discusses a number of issues connected with dioxin emission during incineration of solid and gaseous municipal waste. A balance of the transport of dioxins between their source (i.e. the waste), through the process of their incineration and recombination, to the final stage - their presence in solid and gaseous incineration products. Following that European legislature on dioxin emission is discussed together with the presentation of state-of-the-art installations for reducing the amount of dioxins in exhausted gasses. Most of the research has been based on author’s own observations and research done while taking active part in operation of selected waste incineration plants. The remaining data have been gathered from reference papers on current experiments carried out in European waste incineration plants. Summing up, the paper maintains that the incineration of municipal waste in state-of-the-art installations conforming to emission norms does not endanger the natural environment with dioxins emitted in exhaust gasses. This danger is, however, present in the solid incineration products due to high concentration of dioxins there. Operators are fully aware of this fact and attempt to counteract it. The awareness of presence of dioxins emitted in the process of waste incineration should be decisive factor while choosing technology and installation, which fitted appropriate cleanup equipment will guarantee level of dioxin emission safe for the environment and conforming to the norms of dioxin emission.

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