Thursday, March 25, 2010

Landfills: The Great Debate

By Ashleigh Schuddekopf

As we live daily lives, there is one thing we cannot deny: trash. Everything around us turns into garbage. A plastic bag from the market, a soda can, broken pen or pencil, old clothes, pizza boxes, etc. There is no getting around throwing things out! Once we discard our now useless items away, we simply forget about it and where it may end up.

A landfill is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial, which is the oldest form of waste treatment. Ideally, this works out well, however, not all items we use disintegrate into the soil and are left behind to rot forever on our Earth’s surface.

Landfills are fatal environments, they cause pollution in surrounding communities, they produce Methane gases (which is worse than carbon monoxide!), injures wildlife, and contaminate soil.

One great debate we have towards landfills is whether or not we should build more. Most landfills are not at 100% capacity and have at least another decade to work properly and maintain its trash. Those who support the building of new landfills claim sorting and recycling trash is costly, more costly than building new dumps.

There is plenty of space to build new ones, but who wants to live near a “dump yard”? Not many people. If we just allow new landfills to be built whenever one feels its necessary within the next 100 years our Earth just may be covered in trash!

Environmentalists are trying to push recycling and using “greener” methods of living so we do not have to build new landfills so quickly.

Regardless of what we decide, there will always be landfills, because there will always be trash—and until we find a way to eliminate throwing things out, then we should just continue being careful in our disposal choices.

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