2023 E.B. Burwell, Jr., Award

Presented to Syed E. Hasan

Syed E. Hasan

Syed E. Hasan
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Awarded for: Hasan, S.E., 2022, Introduction to Waste Management: A Textbook, 1st Edition: New York, John Wiley & Sons, 464 p.


Citation by Scott Burns

I am proud to write the citation for the 2023 Burwell Award for my friend, Dr. Syed Hasan, who as written an excellent text, the Introduction to Waste Management: A Textbook.

First of all, let me tell you about Dr. Hasan! I have known him for over 30 years because of our involvement in AEG and GSA. We both have taught environmental and engineering geology. His first book on Geology and Hazardous Waste Management was a great success. He has been teaching four courses in waste management at the University of Missouri at Kansas City for that whole time. He is one of the most famous professors in this field in the United States! He knew what the students needed for the book based on all of those years of teaching. He also has worked all over the world (working in places like Qatar and Jordan) so there is a strong international flavor to the book.

I am excited that this book is an environmental book but is all about geology and its application to this industry! It is perfect for the Burwell Award! The author’s philosophy that underlies the book follows what society is doing with waste – taking a “dirty” industry and converting it to an essential service to society based on geologic principles. Sustainability is a key component of the 21st century, and the book follows this theme. The book follows a zero-waste philosophy with geology as the key.

I love the organization of the book and the topics covered. He covers the traditional topics of municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, medical waste, nuclear waste, and drugs, but he stresses waste minimization. He has added new topics like personal care products to the topics. This is a book not only for geologists, but also for environmental science majors, engineers, resource management students and people involved in sustainability. He has a very important chapter on Covid 19 and future pandemics and their relationships to waste management. He deals with the potential large volumes that are there on the horizon in the future of waste management. He has added new chapters on ship and plane recycling which is going to be a big deal in the future! I love the case histories that he has put into the book – they are so essential for applied geology!

From the standpoint of this being a textbook, Wiley and the author have done a super job of making the book very user friendly. There are over 90 mostly color figures and over 60 tables. For the student, there are lots of learning aids like chapter summaries, study questions, web resources, and references. There is a super glossary. I love the many numerical problems too! Also, the book is available in paper and also as an e-book which students love.

Overall, this book I believe is the outstanding publication this year in the Environmental and Engineering Geology area! It fills a niche that is out there with pure quality. This publication really advances the knowledge concerning the principles and practice of environmental and engineering geology in not only the society of the United States, but around the world. Congratulations to Dr. Hasan for an excellent book!


Response by Syed E. Hasan

I profusely thank the Environmental and Engineering Geological Division of the Geological Society of America for selecting my book as “…a publication of distinction that advances knowledge concerning principles or practice of environmental and (or) engineering geology…” and honoring me with the prestigious Edward Burwell Jr. Award. I would also like to record my heartfelt thanks to my long-time friend Dr. Scott Burns for recommending my book Introduction to Waste Management, A Textbook for this award, supported by my colleague, Dr. Raymond Coveney, Jr.

Our division is the oldest special interest division in the Society and was established in 1947 by a visionary group of geologists that besides Charles Berkey, Sidney Paige, Heinrich Reis, Richard Rhodes, and others included Edward Burwell, who had served as the Engineering Geology Division’s fifth chairman in 1952. He had joined the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933 as a geologist, and was appointed Chief Geologist of the US Army Corps of Engineers at the behest of President Franklin D. Rosevelt following failure of the Fort Peck Dam in March 1938. After his death in 1964, the EG Division established an award in 1968 to honor his contributions to the field of engineering geology.

After serving its membership effectively for over 50 years, the EG Division was approached to consider including the new field of environmental geology along with a name change to reflect its expanded scope. I had the privilege of serving on the division’s management board for five years including its chair in 2007 when the Board recommended approval of the proposal and the new name–Division of Environmental and Engineering Geology–was adopted by the GSA Council in 2010.

Introduction to Waste Management is based on my 25 years of teaching waste management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where I designed and taught four courses in waste management from introductory to graduate levels, including a summer field course. I have written this book with students as my primary audience; but I believe addition of a chapter on pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) together with thorough discussion of nuclear, electronic, airplane, and ship wastes will be very useful for all readers of this book. And, while COVID-19 has impacted everyone in one way or the other, I can claim this book to be the first one to discuss its impacts in the waste management field.

Finally, the book has accorded me the unique distinction of being the only scientist in the world who has singly authored two college textbooks in the field of waste management. The inspiration and drive to write the books has, in no small measures, been the result of networking and motivation from my colleagues and well-wishers in the EEG Division and the Society for which I am ever grateful.