Collections > Master's Papers > Gillings School of Public Health > Utilizing Public Risk Perception to Improve Siting Strategies for Medical Waste Incinerators

A telephone survey was conducted in a community facing a proposed medical waste incinerator (Hall County, Georgia) to identify concerns that shape the overall opinion toward the facility. The results indicate Hall County respondents: 1) acknowledge the need for a facility in Georgia, but oppose one for Hall County; 2) perceive that the newspaper is the main source of information about the plant, is primarily unbiased and has more influence on their opinion; 3) have not been previously involved in public meetings but believe they can influence private industry; 4) are concerned about potential health, aesthetic, economic, and environmental effects, including proper transportation of untreated medical waste and adequate operation and inspections of the plant; 5) believe environmental groups are more credible than other officials involved in the siting process; 6) recognize components and generators of medical waste; 7) oppose compensation; 8) believe the state should first reduce waste; and 9) are aware of possible consequences of not building a treatment facility. Involving the public early in the siting process through increased education/communication, using the media to increase the public's knowledge about medical waste treatment technologies and risks, enforcing environmental regulations, and funding ideas on reduction/reuse of medical waste will help to foster credibility of the siting process and those involved and will help facilitate the siting process.