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The Role Of Incinerators

Industrialized and urbanized humans have a serious problem with solid wastes. These materials must be dealt with by society in a safe and effective manner, and incineration is one option that should be considered. However, incinerators have some drawbacks, including the fact that they invariably emit some quantities of potentially toxic chemicals. The role of incinerators in waste disposal would best be determined by an objective consideration of the best available scientific information.

Environmental damages have been caused in the past by the use of less efficient technologies to dispose of the wastes of society, including incinerators without modern combustion and pollution-control systems. In large part, these damages were associated with industries, politicians, and societies that were not sufficiently aware of the potential environmental damages, or did not care about them to the degree that is common today.

See also Air pollution.



Dennison, R.A., and J. Rushton, eds. Recycling and Incineration: Evaluating the Choices. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1990.

Freedman, B. Environmental Ecology. 2nd ed. San Diego, Academic Press, 1994.

Hemond, H.F. and E.J. Fechner. Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment. San Diego Academic Press, 1994.

McConnell, Robert, and Daniel Abel. Environmental Issues: Measuring, Analyzing, Evaluating. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Bill Freedman


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Flue gas

—The waste gases of a combustion. These may be treated to reduce the concentrations of toxic chemicals, prior to emission of the flue gases to the atmosphere.


—An industrial facility used for the controlled burning of waste materials.


—Acronym for "not in my back yard."

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Hydrazones to IncompatibilityIncineration - Municipal Solid Wastes, Municipal Incinerators, Emissions Of Pollutants, Specialized Incinerators, The Role Of Incinerators