Have you ever thought of what would had happened to your old TV, paint boxes, computers, any electronic devices or such substance which are not degradable or recyclable. Many waste management companies use incinerators or landfills to settle off what you throw out. Landfills are mostly used to settle (and I mean settle, not to decompose) into the ground by compressing the materials that cannot be recycled or burned or degraded. And such substances prove to be hazardous to our health as well as to our environment. Landfills are very designed and planned site, which need continuous monitoring. It is built on a dry and barren land, away from the natural habitat and which does not have any underground water stream.
Most of the countries government and waster management companies think landfill is a good idea of getting rid of solid waste materials that is collected from us. But did you know that decompressed solid waste buried under the ground do not get decompose, but after the site being closed, it creates more hazardous problems to environment – land, water and air – and also to human beings. Read further, how it happens and what the solutions are.
A landfill is a planned and designed to discard solid waste materials by burying it between the layers of earth, in an effort to decrease human heath hazards which get caused if it is left open or without treatment. In the landfill, there are some preventive measures followed before settling the solid material underground. If not buried properly and with lack of proper management, it can be dangerous. The compressed solid waste placed underground creates methane gas and other dangerous gases. Methane gas is flammable. But if comes out in open air and gets mixed with atmosphere, it can create lots of problem for living being including humans. That’s why pipes are placed underground to absorb these gases before it comes out into open. Even some landfills have water containers built underground to prevent contaminated water from mixing with groundwater or seep through ground into pure groundwater. But many landfills around the world are not built properly and managed. Most of the landfills are just dug and all solid wastes are dumped into it, which have added to both water as well as air pollution.
The older landfills that were built and forgotten are now creating many problems. The dumped wastes inside the ground are prone to make Leachate, which is very harmful to human as well as for ground water. Leachate is a very toxic liquid, which is formed when water gets in contact with the solid waste. The rainwater seeps through the ground and comes in contact with wastes, collecting all inorganic and organic materials it penetrates through the ground. If any groundwater stream is under that landfill, then Leachate and groundwater gets mixed, thus contaminating the groundwater and making it toxic. The people who live close by landfills are prone to get ill with common symptoms of allergies, dizziness, skin problems, vomiting as well as dangerous illness like cancer. Children are more susceptible to illness and diseases than adult is and even sometimes causes premature dead of child.
Few solid wastes such as health care wastes are destroyed by burning them in incinerators. If you think it better to burn the waste then dump into the ground, then you are wrong. The burnt waste turns into ashes. These ashes are used in covering the landfills and also export to other areas. This process only adds on to the hazardous cause. The ashes of the solid waste used to cover the landfills create more risks of hazardous Leachate.
While the waste is burnt, it releases deadly particulates and gases into the air and also if breath in, it gets settled in lungs. Air movement cannot be controlled so the air currents can carry these harmful particulates anywhere in the world. Deadly toxics like cadmium, sulfuric acid, mercury, poisonous dioxin and hydrogen chloride are created by burning solid wastes and its ashes.
To prevent these types of hazardous emission, the only solution is “reduce, reuse and recycle” the waste. The products that are not biodegradable, like plastics, use them in different ways, newspaper can be recycled repeatedly. Before throwing your garbage out, separate recyclable stuffs from stuffs, which cannot be recycled like separate cans, bottles, plastics from food material, wood. Most importantly do not throw away your electronic devices such as printers, computers and televisions as they cannot be disposed and contains harmful materials.
With little efforts of each family or a person by following three simple steps of reducing the use of natural sources in excess, reusing the present materials in different ways and recycling the waste can contribute to make this world beautiful, safe and clean place to live for all.