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E-LEARNING TOOLS IN THE SECTOR OF

SOLID AND HAZARDOUS WASTE


MANAGEMENT.

Ε. FΑGΟGΕΝΙ*, Α. ΚΑRΚΑΖΙ*, Τ. ΜΑVROPOULOS*, Α. ΜΑVROPOULOS*,

*EPEM S.A. Department of Solid & Hazardous Waste Management, Athens,


Greece

SUMMARY: The specialization and knowledge improvement of those who are occupied in the
sector of solid waste management is a high priority. The contemporary development of
technology and legislation framework in combination with the accumulated management
experience of solid waste structures, point to this direction. E-learning seems to be a useful tool
not only for the development of labor market of the sector but also for the sustainability of solid
waste facilities. Example: “Sanitary Landfill Manager” program.

1. INTRODUCTION

The subject of this essay is the development of e-learning educational tools for solid waste
management issues (SWM). It must be notified that in order to make the development of this
specific educational program possible, the investigation of the structure and size of work in solid
waste management and the relationship between the results and the knowledge and capacities of
employees who work in this field should have, was considered as absolutely necessary.
Accordingly, this issue concerns both environmental and working dimension of SWM projects.
Later in this essay, they will be presented the basic estimations considering the evolution in the
business market of SWM in Greece, the reasons that led to the creation of e-learning educational
program and the structure ant contents of the program that was created within the frameworks of
the Committee’s Initiative, EQUAL, “Development of an open system of purchase and
certification for professional qualifications in the field of environment’s protection”.

2. WORKING IN SWM IN E.U AND GREECE

From the environmental point of view, the matter of a complete and correct education of
employees working in SWM is the “key” to the right function and conservation of the projects
and to the correct everyday functions in general [1]. From the working point of view, the E.U’s
politics related to the SWM, have a very important impact both to the content of the work in
SWM as well as to the working relationships and number of jobs [2,3]. In Greece, this matter has
been studied in a minimum way [4,5], even though the problems that the employees are facing
are very important. Problems related to the working conditions, salaries, lack of capacities and
capabilities.

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2.1 Existing condition.
The percentage of employees working in Solid Waste Management in E.U is between 0,2% and
0,4%of the whole working force, or in other words, between 20% and 40% of the field that deals
with the environment’s protection. This equals to 200.000- 400.000 employees [2,7].
According to the predictions that have been done for the E.U, the politics for solid waste
management are going to reduce the number of jobs within 5 years, even though at the beginning
of their implementation they will contribute to the creation of new ones. This reduction, even if
it’s not the same in all countries of the European Union will be up to 30-35.000 jobs, despite the
fact that the annual turnover of Solid Waste Industry is expected to have augmentative
inclination [9]. The main reasons for this reduction are:
• The verticality of the working process and the implementation of new technology, especially
in the collection field.
• The expansion of self-financing procedures of SWM projects, that is accompanied by the
reduction of public employees, with no equal increase of jobs.
• The incapability of conserving long term recycling programs, especially in countries of
European south.
In Greece, the number of employees in SWM overcomes the number of 15.000, according to
the facts of National Statistics Service of Greece. In accordance to the latest elaboration [7], the
essay come up with the following conclusions:
A. 1,82% is occupied in superior administrative and directory positions. The majority of
employees are unskilled workers, manual workers and small tradesman with a percentage up to
75,43%. 14,83% concerns machinery and equipment users.
B. 67,53% of administrative and managerial executives have a third degree education. 75,43% of
unskilled workers have the obligatory education and 23,14% of them second degree education.
A high percentage of manual workers (53%) are graduates of obligatory education, while the
rest 47% are graduates of secondary degree education. High percentage of secondary degree
education (64%) is presented in the field of specialized technicians.
C. The great majority of employees are working in waste collection, under unhealthy conditions,
with lack of rudimentary health and security measures and absence of working skills learning
programs.

2.2 Estimation of new number of jobs in Greece


In E.U level, the most intensive works (<500 tons of waste per position) are viewed in the
collection field, the selection in the source and the distribution of certain category waste. Less
intense works (>1000 tons of waste per position) are tracked in disposal, burning and
preservation. Analyzing the existing employment in waste management in Greece, the essay
came up with very important conclusions related to the estimated number of jobs that are about
to be created [7]. In table 1 that follows the new jobs that are expected to be created within the
next 5 years in SWM are presented.

Table 1- Estimated new jobs in SWM]


EMPLOYMENT FIELDS NUMBER OF EXPECTED JOBS
Administration conveyors 350-450
Sanitary Landfills 550-750
Recycling 200-680
Collection 260-600
Waste elaboration 200- 800
TOTAL 1560 - 3280

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Therefore, the expected jobs in total, in the field of solid waste management, are expected to
range between 1560- 3280. It is pointed that at the above estimation, the activity of private sector
is not included.
Concerning specialties where job increase is expected, it is noted that the Responsible for the
function of Sanitary Landfills is considered of high importance. The development of executives
in this position is necessary for the function betterment of Sanitary Landfills, but also for the
creation of working people who will be able to spread the necessary knowledge , or even part of
them, to the workers in Sanitary Landfills.
Above these, the educational program “Responsible for Sanitary Landfills Function” was
characterized as high priority because:
• Sanitary Landfills are the most popular method of solid waste management in Greece, while
More Sanitary Landfills are about to be constructed.
• The experience concerning the preparation, the design, the construction and the function of
projects, underlines the urgent need to upgrade the human resource.
• The evolutions that took place under the prism of new Instructions (ex. 99/31 of E.U) make
the existing Sanitary Landfills susceptible to correspond to the Instructions’ demands.
• The indulgence of Authority conveyors, through the insufficient and unskilled number of
human resource, to carry out directly and effectively the numerous everyday problems, is
ascertained.

3. THE CHOICE OF E-LEARNING

In order to choose the certain educational method, the following facts were taken in mind:
♦ The geographical dispersion of conveyors- services- corporations, does not allow the
gathering of all involved parts in a certain place and time in order to exchange experience and
information concerning matters that are of their interest.

♦ The bad organization, the lack of substructure and financial resources of administrative
conveyors, often dissuades the participation and the access of human resource in educational
activities, which target the upgrade of the gnostic subject.

♦ The limited free time of employees does not allow the participation in seminars or
educational programs, considering also that most seminars are materialized with compatible
educational methods.
All the above, lead to the growth of flexible educational systems that could adjust to the needs,
the schedule and the available time of each employee. Systems like e-learning have these
characteristics.
At the same time, the use of e-learning reduces the very big cost of the educational programs’
materialization and makes easy the response in urgent needs, as employees are able to respond in
fast rates.

4. DEVELOPMENT OF E-LEARNING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: “RESPONSIBLE


OF SANITARY LANDFILLS’ FUNCTION”.

These basic keystones rule the philosophy of this certain lesson:


 It must be attractive and friendly to the user, it must urge him to keep on going

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 It is a useful “tool” that directs and gives real support in the confrontation of real
problems concerning Sanitary Landfills.
 Concentrates to the basic procedures and substructure that establish a Sanitary
Landfill project, while the key-points that establish its function are pointed out.
 It is comprehensive, without being difficult and tiring, fulfilling the needs for
information of all demanding users who are looking for solutions.

Figure 1. The “Key-Point” information and the illustrated screen keeps students’ interest and
urge him to continue

According to the above, a “data base” was created, that is structured and supported by the
following:
• A surfing agenda, which allows users to have a direct access to every point, they want.
• Links to other websites.
• Helpful records that the professor can put into the data base and every student may
have access to them.
• Students’ essays. Students can put into the data base their essays (in any form they
want), which can be visible to every other student.
• Announcements.
• Communication among users through chat room. In the chat room there could be a
conversation among students or even between students and teacher, in order to solve
questions or to give any help students’ need.
• Valuation and self-valuation though exercises that are created by the teacher of the
lesson. The form of the exercises will vary; for example there will be multiple choice
questions with one answer, multiple choice questions with multiple answers of
different importance each, questions of corresponding to specific answers, questions

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that should have short developed answers etc.
• Statistic facts that help the tutor improve the lesson according to students’ needs.
• Users’ teams so that the students’ management can be easier.

4.1 Software structure


The system was developed according to the architecture client- server. It works through a central
point and is connected to LAN and Internet. A web server that accommodates the e-learning
education platform supports it. The lesson is carried out through the Internet and the connection
is possible by using a simple PSTN connection, with no loss of participation to any lesson. It
functions to Apache server and its database has been created with MySql. The websites are
constructed in PHP. That means that the system has been developed according to the LAMP
(Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP/Perl/Python), a rapidly developed total of open- fee software/ open
code software.

4.2 Content of educational program


Having in mind the basic principles of the planning philosophy and taking advantage of the most
important experiences and speculations that come from the function of the existing Sanitary
Landfills in Greece, the content of the lesson was defined. Specifically, facts of crucial
importance for the approach of the content were:
• The creation of a tool that virtualizes more with a manual or user’s guide.
• The creation of responsibility of the trainee and the feeling that he really is the Responsible
of Project’s function and must solve any possible problem

The general framework of the subject of the educational program is presented in table 2:

Table 2 - Content of lesson’s Subject

Didactic Units References- Key points


1st Unit
• ENVIRONMENTAL √ Consequences of the uncontrolled waste disposal
PROTECTION& SOLID WASTE √ Procedures taking place in uncontrolled waste disposal
MANAGEMENT landfills.
√ Rehabilitation of Uncontrolled waste disposal landfills
√ Treatment methods Solid Waste Management
√ Brief mention of the existing situation considering
technological application in Greece and E.U.
2nd Unit
• INTRODUCTION TO SL- √ Definition of Sanitary Landfill
DEFINITION OF SANITARY √ Implementation Method of SB
LANDFILL PROFILE √ Profile composition of general projects’ disposition of
Sanitary Landfills
√ Procedures taking place in SL
√ Matters of SL planning- Conclusions by the experience
of Greek reality
√ Institutional framework for SL projects’
implementation
√ Key points for the beginning and the complete
function of a SL

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3d Unit √ What is the leachate and which is its behavior
• LEACHATE MANAGEMENT √ Management measures
√ Practices
4th Unit √ What is biogas and which is its behavior
• BIOGAS MANAGEMENT √ Management measures
√ Practices
5th Unit √ Organization, Function, Maintenance and Observation
• SL FUNCTION guides for project’s parameters

6th Unit √ Targets and basic questions


• FUNCTION – CLOSURE √ Planning crucial points
REHABILITATION OF SL √ Risk Assessment
√ Specification of basic works

Figure 2. Sample of a screen from the educational e-learning tool (1st Unit).

Special attention is given to maintenance and structure matters of a project with a record of
everyday needs.
Legislation concerning planning, construction, function and after-care of a SL is pointed out, in
order to make the trainee understand the complete profile of the project management with every
technical- administrative and economical parameters that make it environmentally safe and
functionally complete and viable.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the successful responding to the educational program use,
regarding the subjects that have bean taught, is sealed by giving exams and solving real case
studies.

4. CONCLUSIONS

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The business market analysis and its tendencies, proves that there is a real need for education in
solid waste management matters.
This need arises from the correct function and the environmental protection of the
implementation, as well as from the evolution of the working content and the upgrade of human
resource.
In these frameworks, the use of e-learning techniques could be a low budget, trustful and flexible
solution.
This project must be seen as the minimum step towards the growth of a complete educational
system for employees in SWM. This educational system will grow organic relationship with
Administration conveyors of solid waste, workers’ syndicates and educational structures.
Towards this direction, the Geek Federation of Workers in Local Self- Administration.

5. REFERENCES

Permanent Working Team for Sanitary Burial and Territorial Disposal of the Greek Corporation
of Solid Waste management (2002) « Sanitary Landfills’ condition in Greece : experiences,
tendencies, perspectives ».
EC (2001) «Employment effects of Waste Management Policies» Final Report .
EC COM/97/0592 “Communication on Environment and Employment-Building a
Sustainable Europe”.
GFW-LSA (POE-OTA, 1998) “Guide for the hygiene and security of employees in waste
management”.
GFW-LSA (POE-OTA, 2000) “ CLEANNESS: Contemporary techniques at Citizens’ and
Employees’ service”.
National Institute of Work, 2002 “Potential of new job creation in the fields of environment’s
protection and preservation”.
ΕΠΕΜ S.A (2003) “Record of Corporational Fields and Specialties Constitution and work
analysis for chosen specialties of solid waste management field”.
ECOTEC (2001) “Costs for Municipal Waste Management in the EU – Final Report to
Directorate General Environment, European Commission”
TEKES (2003) “Innovative waste management products, European Market Survey”
INTERNET SITE : www.envi.gr

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