Disasters are often described primarily in terms of millions of dollars in damage and loss, but what about piles refuse and tons debris produced? One of the key components of cleaning up after a disaster is figuring out what to do with all the rubble and damage.

Researchers from the University of Canterbury have studied how much damage has occurred in previous natural disasters, and discovered that these events can result in as much as 15 years worth of solid waste in as little as a few days.

Just days after Crescent City raised the last of the boats that were sunk in last month’s tsunamis, this should stand as a timely reminder that now is a time to re-examine municipal disaster recovery plans, and make sure the plan includes solid waste and debris disposal.

From Snoop Independent News:

UC researchers show waste management critical to natural disaster recovery.

University of Canterbury researchers are unravelling the critical role that disaster waste management plays in recovery from natural disasters.

“As a result of the 22 February earthquake approximately 20 years worth of solid waste was produced,” said Research team leader, UC PhD student Charlotte Brown. “Disaster waste is not just a solid waste problem, however. Following the 1995 Great Hansin-Awaji earthquake (Kobe earthquake), road blockages prevented building access, which in turn impeded rescuers from reaching survivors.”

Read the full article here.