Siting MSW landfills with a weighted linear combination methodology in a GIS environment
Landfill has been taken to the bottom of the hierarchy of options for waste disposal but has been the most used method for urban solid waste disposal. However, landfill has become more difficult to implement because of its increasing cost, community opposition, and more restrictive regulations regarding the siting and operation of landfills. Land is a finite and scarce resource that needs to be used wisely. Appropriate allocation of landfills involves the selection of areas that are suitable for waste disposal. The present work describes a type of multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) method called weighted linear combination (WLC) in a GIS environment to evaluate the suitability of the study region for landfill. The WLC procedure is characterized by full tradeoff among all factors, average risk and offers much flexibility than the Boolean approaches in the decision making process. The relative importance weights of factors are estimated using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). In the final aggregated suitability image, zones smaller than 20 hectares are eliminated from the allocation process. Afterwards, the land suitability of a zone is determined by calculating the average of the suitability of the cells belonging to that zone, a process called zonal land suitability. The application of the presented method to the Gorgan city (Iran) indicated that there are 18 zones for landfill with their zonal land suitability varying from 155.426117 to 64.149024. The zones were ranked in descending order by the value of their zonal land suitability. The results showed the use of GIS as a decision support system (DSS) available to policy makers and decision makers in municipal solid waste (MSW) management issues.