Authors: Giuliano Vox, Rosa Viviana Loisi, Ileana Blanco, Giacomo Scarascia Mugnozza, Evelia Schettini
Abstract: The current intensification of the use of plastic materials in agriculture, although has increased significantly the productivity, is also generating growing adverse effects on the environment of the agro-ecosystem. The agriculture is responsible for a massive use of plastic materials, in addition to energy and water inputs, chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Besides the pollution generated during the manufacture, at the end of their lifetime plastic materials used for crop covering, soil mulching, packaging, containers, pots, irrigation and drainage pipes, may became a pollution source when improperly disposed, leaved on the ground or burned. Instead the agricultural plastic waste (APW), if correctly collected, can be used as a new secondary raw material or as an energy source. An adequate APW management can prevent economical losses and environmental damages.
The territory of the Barletta, Andria, Trani Province (BAT), in the Apulia Region, South Italy, is an agricultural area characterized by vineyards, olive groves, orchards and vegetables; it represents an area of intense production of plastic wastes and with a widespread problem linked to the application of unacceptable disposal practices.
The goal of this study is to define and quantify the different types of plastic waste produced by the agricultural practice in a restricted area of the municipal area of Trani and Barletta, to localize the points where the most remarkable quantities of them are generated, and to provide the local Authorities and the decision makers of a useful tool for implementing an efficient and effective waste management. A dedicated geo-referenced database was designed using land use maps in a GIS environment and applying a methodology that can be functional for any kind of agricultural plastic waste. The resulting database gives updated and complete information on the plastic waste generation, over the land, related to the cultivation kind.