1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Waste is an issue that relates to all other areas of the environment. The potential for inappropriately disposed waste to contaminate land and groundwater with heavy metals and other toxins is a significant concern, especially in jurisdictions where government oversight of waste management may be lacking. The release of methane and other gases from decomposing waste is also an issue as this contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and poor air quality. Non-biodegradable plastics are also a concern as these persist in the environment for many years and can wash into oceans and estuaries, harming marine and bird life.

Waste, and its management, also have clear economic dimensions. International evidence suggests that economic growth contributes to growth in the amount of waste generated per person (Productivity Commission 2006). Moreover, as the total volume of waste generated in Australia increases, so does the importance of businesses that exist to extract and recover materials from waste.

Waste also has social implications, especially for those who reside near waste disposal sites. Poorer health outcomes may be a concern for residents living near waste disposal sites. Also, proximity to disposal sites may reduce property prices and income sources, which is also an issue affecting people's wellbeing.


  • Land
  • Inland waters
  • Atmosphere
  • Oceans and estuaries
  • Biodiversity
  • National income
  • Health

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