The Municipal Solid Waste Dilemma Essay

1842 words - 7 pages

Everyone buys things and sooner or later, we will throw it away. Or suppose we eat at Mc Donald's. After we are finished, we throw away our trash and never see or think of it ever again. In our fast passed world that we live in today, there are many people living in it and produce a lot of garbage and waste. The United States alone produces over 200 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste every year. That is equates to about 4.5 pounds of waste per person, per day. According to data from the EPA, about 35% of that is paper, 30% include yard trimmings and food scraps. Over 11% is plastic, 8% is metal, and the remainder contains wood, rubber, glass, and textiles. The main problem that we have is overflow of landfills. On top of this problem, there is a factor of contamination and pollution that carries on with garbage disposal. Because of this dilemma, we need solutions to these problems. Some solutions include recycling, source reduction, and other methods of waste disposal. In this proposal, I will talk briefly about waste management and how landfills are made and developed. I will further discuss governmental regulations that are taking place to make disposal safe and friendly to the environment.

About 27 percent of the trash is recycled, 16 percent is burned, and 57 percent is buried in landfills. A landfill by definition is a carefully designed structure built into or on top of the ground in which trash is isolated from the surrounding environment. This isolation is made possible with a bottom liner and covering of soil. Most landfills use a synthetic plastic liner to isolate the trash from the environment. In a landfill, not all of the land is used for dumping trash. Some areas are used for runoff collection ponds, leachate collection ponds, and drop-off stations. Other safety precautions are used such as studying the composition of underground. For a good landfill site, the ground should be watertight to prevent any leakage from reaching groundwater. Many landfills sink wells at various areas around the site to monitor the groundwater or to capture any escaping wastes. It is also important for a landfill not to be close to rivers, streams or other bodies of water so that any leachate from the landfill will not enter the groundwater.

When a site for a landfill is found, construction of a landfill can be made. The ground is dug for many feet and a plastic liner system is lined on the ground. This will prevent for leachate to contaminate ground water. Within this structure, a leachate collection pipe is harnessed to draw away any contaminated water to a leachate pond. On top, a layer of soil and gravel is placed so that it is ready to be covered with trash. To extend the life of a landfill and to use space efficiently, trash is tightly packed and stored in cells. Compression of trash is accomplished with special equipment and machinery. Basically, once a cell of compacted trash is full, a new one is made on...

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