Water is essential to life. Solid waste impacts water quality through the release of leachate from landfills into water sources.

Quality and access to clean water continue to be a critical public health issue and growing water scarcity hampers the development of countries. The combination of drinking water and hygienic environmental sanitation are prerequisites for a healthy life for the people.


Inappropriate solid waste management practices result in contamination of surface and groundwater, which in turn is a serious risk to human health. Waste reduction is as important as recycling in the economy of natural resources, energy, space, costs of waste disposal and reduction of pollution risks.

Waste deposited in "dumps", in addition to emitting greenhouse gases, as presented in the previous edition of FIRS, are sources of pollution of groundwater and soil, due to the production of leachate. Waste decomposition may extend for decades after the closure of a landfill, thereby increasing the potential for contamination of water resources. When pollutants become part of the predominant groundwater flow system, they follow the water table until they reach surface waters, producing significant changes in aquatic life and human health.

As the water comes into contact with decomposing solid waste, it will dissolve together with soluble organic and inorganic waste that produces a polluted liquid known as leachate or waste juice.

Despite the enormous environmental impact and health of people, Brazil is still in non-compliance with the National Solid Waste Policy, instituted by Federal Law No. 12,305 / 2010, which brings in its goal the goal of eradicating dumps in all National territory until August 2, 2014. According to the Brazilian Solid Waste Survey (Abrelp, 2015), some 30 million tons of waste had inadequate disposal - landfills or landfills - in all regions and states of Brazil and 3,326 tons Municipalities still make use of these improper sites.

More information about the Abrelpe study can be found at