Risk of plastics losses to the environment from Indian landfills

Vinay Yadav, M. A. Sherly, Pallav Ranjan, Vindhyawasini Prasad, Rafael O. Tinoco, Alexis Laurent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A significant fraction (45%) of global environmental losses of plastics stems from mismanaged landfills and open dumps located mainly in the Asian region. These lost plastics cause substantial impacts on the ecosystems, human health and economy. To date, no large-scale quantification has ever been made to estimate urban, national, or global risks of plastics losses from landfills, covering all relevant pathways, like wind blowing, precipitation/runoff, or flooding. Here, we have developed a novel framework to categorize urban centers into different risk levels based on a trivariate risk assessment model. We applied it to entire India, building on landfill data and modeling pertaining to 496 Indian urban centers with populations larger than 0.1 million inhabitants. Results show that ∼11% of these cities present severe and very high risk levels, including largely populated metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi. This nationwide assessment can help policy-makers identify and prioritize urban centers in dire need of actions to limit environmental losses of plastics. Owing to the importance of landfills as a plastics release source, such decision support offers strong opportunities to curb plastics pollution globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106610
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental losses of plastics
  • Landfills
  • Plastics waste management
  • Risk framework

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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