The Dangers Posed by Landfills Today

Landfills in today's society are our cheapest solution to ridding the land of everyday waste. Although, this is a convenient alternative to waste solution, it does provide substantial dangers to our environment and health. One of the greatest dangers we face today is the groundwater pollution from lacheates. While they are supposed to protect humans from harmful toxins, but these protective barriers only delay the inevitable due to natural deterioration.

The problem with landfills lacheates is the leakage of many toxins. Since landfills are usually built near large bodies of water, this pollution often goes undetected. Frequent seeping of metals and organic compounds submerge themselves into the ground and into our drinking water, making it impossible to detect with the incursion of river water and landfill toxins merging together in groundwater. This potential of leaking groundwater pollution increases everyday due to many factors. For example, the every hour increase in our population is a major factor that exacerbates pollution, adding more waste and wasting more land to find a place for our trash. Furthermore, over population contributes to massive amounts of common household waste which includes plastic, glass, paper, and cans, all of which can be recycled. Another cause of the overuse of landfills is our society's lack of recycling. As we know, recycling is a brilliant way of saving trash, land, and the ozone. All of these are harmful causes to the environment and humans. The final major cause associated with the environment is trash itself. Trash should be made more biodegradable. If products are made of more biodegradable material, such as the plastic, they will disintegrate faster if thrown away or reused if recycled.

Overtime many problems arise from unassisted prevention of causes such as groundwater pollution to the environment. The problems that will arise from the leakage of lacheates are the collection of toxins in groundwater that will pollute river water and the animals that live within or around that water. Once the wildlife is hunted for food, humans are then polluted with pathogens from the landfills. The pathogens are contaminating the water as well as the air. Methane gas, along with CO2 is vented into the air from the top of landfills. When large amounts of this gas are inhaled, death is caused by suffocation. Land is also another major concern of the environment. Pollution of land means pollution of our crops. Consumption of poisonous crops results in sickness or even death. Shortage of land increases as waste and the population increases. According to one report, over the next ten years, southeast England will run out of landfill area and will try to resort to a waste free economy.

Economies in general are run through political leaders and set rules or guidelines to abide by. Landfills must meet certain requirements and regulations; however these laws usually aren't strict enough to protect our environment. Politics, for the most part, find other ways to avoid major issues of waste and the environment. However, there are applicable laws that landfills must abide by. For example, it is required that wells are placed between landfills and a body of water, if the landfills are placed around water. This is an applicable rule governed by the EPA. Other applicable guidelines include the basic engineering of landfills. All landfills must contain the following to perform as a legalized landfill: a bottom liner, a leachate collection system, a cover, and a natural hydro-geological setting.

Other laws that are applied to landfills are waste management regulations. For example, leachates must be lined with clay, contain flexible synthetic membranes; drainage systems (located at the bottom of the leachate) with pipes that attach to a sump to treat the leachate's drainage. The regulations also included a ventilation system at the top of landfills that are taped off. This tapered effects ventilates the landfill to gather methane gas given off from the landfill and is used for industrial or heating use. Compacting of the waste is also helpful in the disintegration of the trash, however, all drivers must be licensed. Overall, I believe the application of major laws in respect to waste are in forced by different agencies or formed comities such as the EPA or NIH. Looking at today's presidential race, the only part of the environment that is looked upon by either candidate is the prevention of nuclear war. Major politicians seem to overlook the fact of overpopulation, global warming, or even ground pollution. Limitations on landfills are based on treatments of testing for toxins or pathogens. There are limitations for hazardous and non-hazardous landfills. Both include treatment with equalization, activated sludge biological treatment, and multimedia filtration. Hazardous would include chemical precipitation along with their treatment testing.

Environmentally testing is important for survival and the remediation of chronic illness. Unfortunately, economic and political considerations do not influence this behavior. With most attention on the war, global spending on Iraq, and ridding of the national budget, I do not see any political or economical considerations used to influence remediation of environmental policies. One source even states that out president cut spending in 2005 for the prevention of lead in our drinking water. In conclusion the only thing we can do now is practice prevention. Although recycling is expensive, it is the best opportunity we have to rid our land of any waste. With all the other problems in the world today it is a good idea to reduce and recycle. I am not so sure if the idea of cereusing would be our safest one.

Works Cited

  1. http://www.naturegrid.org.uk/rivers/gt%20stour%20case%20study-pages/plinIfll.html
  2. http://www.zerowasteamerica.org/BasicsOfLandfills.htm
  3. http://www.epa.gov/ost/guide/landfills/fi nal/landfact.html
  4. http://www.opednews.com/wade_080404_bush_signature_achievements.htm