Quantifying the effect of waste on soil health in European Union: what are the roles of technology, natural capital, and institutional quality?
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
With a surge in both hazardous and non-hazardous waste in recent decades, European Union countries are losing their soil quality which in turn affects the agricultural production of their economies. Taking this into account, this study presents the effect of hazardous and non-hazardous waste, plastic waste, and electronic waste on soil health for 24 European Union (EU) countries during 2004–2018 period. The impacts of several other variables such as technological innovation, ICT, natural capital, fossil fuel energy consumption, and institutional quality on soil health are also examined. To achieve the above objectives, we employ Driscoll-Kraay technique as the main methodology as well as panel spatial correlation consistent (PSCC) standard errors and quantile estimation at median. The results demonstrate that electronic waste has a negative effect on soil health while the effect of total hazardous and non-hazardous waste and plastic waste on soil health remains insignificant. Technological innovation, ICT, and institutional quality, as well as fossil fuel energy consumption, have positive impacts on soil health. Furthermore, natural capital moderates the effect of plastic and electronic waste on soil health. The study finally provides precise policy recommendations for the EU countries such as proper handling of wastes, promoting strong institutional quality as well as use of technology to enrich the soil nutrient balance.