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Measures for Improving Management for Household Hazardous Waste in Seoul

Hyomi KimㆍKoUn KimㆍHye-Jin Lee

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is municipal waste that has adverse health effects or can induce environmental pollution. To protect people’s health and the environment from HHW, the Ministry of Environment amended to establish a management plan for HHW and assess the results annually. This is stipulated in Article 14-4of the Waste Management Act.

To properly manage HHW in Seoul, the investigations for overall management status (discard, collection, treatment, etc.) and related infrastructure for managing HHW should have proceeded. Therefore, in this study,we investigated the hazardous characteristics of components in HHW, associatedlaws and best practices for managing HHW in domestic and foreign countries, and the overall management status of HHW and citizens’ recognition. Then we proposed measures for improving management for HHWs.

We selected items requiring additional management based on the hazardous effect on health and environment, potential waste generation, and regional infrastructures. Selected waste items are pesticides, drugs, mercury- containing products (fluorescent bulb, batteries, thermostat, thermometer, and mercury sphygmomanometer), natural radioactive products, household chemical products, small-sized electronic devices, and preservative-treated wood and household medical products.

For HHW to be well managed, guidelines for specific and detailed discard, collection, and treatment procedures for the selected items should be prepared. Seoul citizens want to discard HHW near of residence easily. Therefore, the guideline should let Seoul citizens know what kinds of items are included as HHW and easily understandable.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government needs to operate the Hazardous Waste Center (or department in charge) to strengthen its management execution ability and establish a leading and long-term management foundation to protect health and the environment from HHW. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and 25 districts have ordinances for waste management. Still, ordinances for management for HHW have not yet been established, so it is necessary to establish an institutional basis throughordinance maintenance.

In HHW management, various subjects, from product producers to consumers who discard used products, from local government to the central government, participate. Accordingly, to protect health and the environment from HHW, the roles of each subject should be shared, and the given roles should be actively practiced.