Burying waste in landfills creates offensive odors and potentially dangerous gases that are capable of moving through soil into nearby buildings. The most harmful gases generated in landfills are methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and sulfides. Methane is flammable, while carbon dioxide is known to move into buildings and displace oxygen.Continue Reading
In the 19th and much of the 20th century, it was common for Americans to bury their waste in landfills located near wetlands and bodies of water. Gas from these landfills leaked into the water and created health hazards for those living nearby. Some landfills even exploded as a result of the presence of flammable methane.
In 1993, Congress passed a law that required landfills to be lined with plastic to prevent leaks into surrounding soil and groundwater. The law also requires owners and managers of landfills to monitor gases emitted from the sites.
Since then, many communities have reclaimed landfills, covering the garbage and converting the sites into parks and green space.
Despite control measures in place to mitigate problems stemming from landfills, many Americans are calling for greater reduction in consumption and for increased reuse and recycling to avoid having to deposit so much into existing landfills. Such people hope for a day when the country will produce zero waste.Learn more about Pollution
Trash disposal at landfills and dump sites consists of burying waste, either in an empty hole or within a purpose-built structure designed to isolate waste from surrounding soil and groundwater. Sanitary and municipal solid waste landfills utilize a clay or synthetic liner to isolate waste from neighboring environments. Landfills are typically designed to keep waste dry and protected from contact with the air.Full Answer >
As of 2015, the Sudokwon SLC Landfill in South Korea is currently the world's largest active, purpose-built landfill. The world's largest collection of garbage is the so-called great pacific garbage patch located in the North Pacific.Full Answer >
Since the closure of its major landfill in the early 2000s, the Philippine Islands' capital city of Manila has grappled with the question of what to do with more than 8,600 tons of garbage that its 11.5 million residents generate each day. With nowhere else to dispose of their trash, many Manila residents began dumping it into the Pasig River. The problem prompted the nation's health officials to caution that water-borne diseases such as dysentery, hepatitis B and cholera are likely to spread in alarming proportions without mitigation.Full Answer >
When placed in a landfill, it takes approximately 2 months for cardboard to decompose. However, the time it takes may vary depending on how thick the cardboard is and how wet the conditions are. Decomposition may also be affected by coatings or laminates found on the cardboard.Full Answer >