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September 29, 2013

Essay on Landfills

In this paper, we will be analyzing the negative impacts of landfills on the environment. Landfills are mostly disliked because they cause numerous environmental problems. In Europe and elsewhere, a lot of initiatives and measures are being taken to minimize the hazards of landfills. It has become a global issue that demands the attention of policy makers and states. Waste prevention is the most viable solution that can help reduce the toxicity of waste.

Landfills and their effects on environment
Most often located outside large cities, a landfill or dump or dumping ground is a place where the waste and garbage is stored. Public or private dumps pose serious environmental problems in developing countries and rich countries must follow or manage hundreds of thousands of landfills, some old and forgotten. The animals eat a lot of the consumable organic matter, but the waste contains more and more non-biodegradable or toxic material. In Europe there is massive investment underway to reduce substantially and our dependence on landfills.
In other words, landfills are sites, sometimes abandoned, where waste is deposited in the soil to rot. As each new load of rubbish arrives for disposal, it is pushed down and compacted into the site and then covered with a layer of soil. To prevent leakage of toxic materials in soil and water surrounding the site must first be doubled to seal in the waste.
The regulation of waste recovery has now become very strict. It is forbidden since the late twentieth century to resort to illegal dumping in favor of sanitary landfills (PST) or incineration.
The standards for the protection of the environment require eliminating looming risks of pollution, such as waterproofing on the site vis-à-vis an aquifer and or by covering it with a waterproof layer.
Landfills have not always been located outdoors. It seems that many places and underground water bodies today actually stem from old landfills. This is problematic in the sense that these sites are often poorly managed hence hinders the protection of the natural environment and the health safety of residents living nearby.

In many urban and industrial areas proper disposal of waste material is not a regular activity. In the red zone and especially due to the reconstruction of cities after the world wars, many landfills received poorly sorted debris that contained unexploded ordnance.
Landfills emit methane powerful greenhouse gas which can burn or explode. Accidental or intentional fires are seasonal and discharge currents in dry and warm weather. They emit well-known pollutants and are generally not recognized (such as forest fires) by cadastres and pollution inventories. Household waste is quite rich in chlorine-containing products (including PVC) to issue burning of dioxins and furans in significant quantity (about 10 times more than a brush fire).
Recently, Apex Environmental LLC, submitted a revised application to the Ohio EPA for its proposed landfill expansion in Jefferson County. Given the environmental hazards that landfills produce, the company proposed to reduce its daily waste receipts request, reduce the vertical expansion for the northern slope of the landfill and to include information about employing odor control measures.
The measures that the company had proposed to ensure can be seen as a step in the right direction. The company’s original application sought permission to enhance its authorized maximum daily waste receipts from 5,250 tons per day to 10,000 tons per day. It had also requested to increase the height of the landfill by 75 feet by increasing the steepness of the slopes.    
Having reviewed the permission request of Apex LLC, Ohio EPA finally gave the company a solid waste permit-to-install and final air permit-to-install for the company’s proposed landfill expansion. All the requests of the company were in line with the Ohio EPA’s requirements. This means that the buried waste under 12 acres of the northern slope will not receive any new waste and will not need to be uncovered, preventing some potential odors. The request of odor management was also duly entertained and accepted. Ohio EPA’s decision was undisputed because it also requires the landfill to control odors associated with 
  The decision justifies the role of Ohio EPA and its emphasis on public involvement involving citizens in the part of decision-making process.

Literature Review
Production of waste is a global problem that will not be resolved on its own so we constantly find practical ways and adapted to the flow of it. All human beings want to get rid of something in their lives, be it garbage, plastic, paper, metal, commercial waste or anything else that they just do not want or need and wish to discard.

Unfortunately, today most of our waste tends to end up in landfills, which is far from ideal. Landfill has an immediate advantage in that it is practical, however, there are other more serious problems concerning the landfill that are not so advantageous to human health or animal health or the environment despite the agencies protection, legislation and monitoring is in place.
The introduction and ever increasing cost of landfill tax is designed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by encouraging waste producers to produce less waste and reuse or recycle waste rather than mixed
the bucket. Landfills are heavily regulated and monitored by environmental agencies in an attempt to minimize the risk to human health and the environment. (Porter, 2002)
Once a landfill has been filled to capacity, it must be capped or covered and a new site must be found. Habitual ways should be to cover with a layer of plastic over soil, a protective cover, sand, more land and then something like grass. This will keep rodents away and minimizes the risk of residual gases and other toxins are released into the surrounding land and waterways. (Lewis, 1994)
Currently, approximately 80% of our garbage ends up in landfills and the amount of waste continues year after year, a major problem is that basically we are running out of space. It is not easy to find a new site for the landfill or as nobody wants to have it in their "back yard" so to speak. Apart from the risk of explosion, landfills also emit in unpleasant odors and gases containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may have a negative impact on health even at low doses. (Cooper, 2006)
As garbage rots in a landfill, methane gas is released and that methane is a greenhouse gas emissions, it is a major cause for concern. The lining of the landfill helps prevent gas escape. Often the lines of methane collection and brought to the surface where it can be burned (a process known as flaring) or it can be extracted and used as fuel for others.(Schoch, 2003)
The leachate is produced in landfills and water drain liquid from decomposing garbage and again, the coating prevents this material from contaminating the surrounding land and water systems. The tubes are usually collect leachate and pump to the surface where it may be re-distributed, but if a lot of leachate is produced, it will often be sent to factories for processing wastewater.
Another major problem with landfill is that certain substances such as non-biodegradable plastic bags for example, may take perhaps hundreds of years to decompose. There is no light or oxygen in a landfill for waste cannot be broken very quickly. Despite all the measures in place, several studies have highlighted health risks from landfill sites and the total impact on human health, animal and environmental health is still unclear and widely debated.(Bagchi, 2007)
A significant proportion of waste ending up in landfill waste is not really at all since most of them could serve other purposes more useful with a much less harmful or that could be recycled to produce new products. So far the best way to minimize the amount of waste going to landfills and reduce the impact on health and the environment is to reuse or recycle as much as possible.
Currently, only about 7 or 8 percent of household waste is recycled, but if more people were aware of the risks associated with the landfill, they would be willing to make greater efforts to sort their waste and either reuse or recycle them at one of the increasing number of recycling depots. One man’s trash is another treasure. (Tammemagi, 1999)
Marine lakes or pits used to dispose of hazardous waste (radioactive waste ammunition and civil and / or military, such as Qinghai Lake in China, or the Pit of Caskets off Normandy) dumped munitions dumps, the consequences of war (among a hundred at least on the Atlantic coastline of Europe), and likely to generate delayed impacts in space and time, but more importantly discharge of sludge from rivers, estuaries and / or ports. These sludges are generally much polluted and their volume increases with the deterioration of watersheds resulting in increased erosion.
Landfills for household waste and assimilated generate nuisances of various kinds to the environment and neighborhood sites. If some of these nuisances are rapidly reversible, others are risks that can last a very long time, until several decades after the end of the deposits.
Indeed, the organic waste decomposes according to mechanisms of fermentation to produce biogas, a byproduct of waste decomposition, whose composition varies with landfill waste.
It is therefore understood that these activities can cause nuisance, pollution and risks should not be neglected, thus justifying that are incurred for rehabilitation operations to prevent and remove them.
The worst of the problems that landfills create is the threat of electronic waste. Due to the remarkable progress of information technology and communication and the phenomenon of rapid product obsolescence, discarded electronic equipment, otherwise called e-waste (electronic waste) is now recognized as a growing source of waste. Electronic waste contains substances that may be environmentally harmful and dangerous to human health ranging from organ damage, damage to the nervous system, brain as well as other respiratory diseases and skin.
The generation of municipal waste varies according to cultural factors related to income levels, consumption patterns, technological development and quality standards of living of the population. The increasing development of the Chilean economy has brought about a considerable increase in the generation of waste. In the 60's, household waste generation amounted to 0.2 to 0.5 kg / capita / day today however; this figure is between 0.8 and 1.4 kg / capita / day.
Sectors generate higher income per capita and increased volumes of waste and this waste has a higher value than those from incorporated poorest of the population. The amount of waste generated by industry is based on the technology of the production process, quality of raw materials or intermediate products, physical and chemical properties of the used auxiliary materials, fuels and packaging process.
Mining waste materials are removed to gain access to minerals and all waste from the mining process. In Chile and the world production statistics are quite limited. Currently, the copper industry is committed to the implementation of appropriate management of these wastes, which is expected in the near future to have proper statistics.
Currently the management of hospital waste is not the most appropriate in the absence of clear regulations in this regard. The management of this waste is carried out through generator and not under a decentralized system. At the level of hospital wastes are usually sterile.
The composition of hospital waste residue ranges from residential and commercial medical waste containing such hazardous substances. According to the Integrated Waste Management Board California USA medical waste is defined as one that is composed of waste that is generated as a result of:
a) Treatment, diagnosis, or immunization of humans or animals
b) Research leading to the production or testing of medical preparations made from living organisms and their products
Hazardous waste: waste are by their nature are inherently hazardous to handle and / or dispose of and can cause death, disease, or that are dangerous to health or the environment when handled improperly.
 Inert Waste: Waste stable over time, which will not cause significant environmental effects impeding a healthy interaction with the environment.

Solution and recommendation
On the one hand, a natural reuse of land must be sought because this version is the cheapest and easiest. Second, it is possible the existing landfill areas are operated economically, for example, through forestry and agriculture.
Another possibility is the re-use in the field of social sector. That is to say, the creation of green spaces, recreational facilities, amusement parks and other sports and recreational facilities are made possible.
The option of reuse seems favorable even in terms of industrial use.
Also, wind power or photovoltaic systems, is an important cornerstone of the first-rate technologies for the re-use of landfills and their evaluation.  Landfill classes differ in general by the nature of the deposited waste and by the type of existing sealing systems. 
Landfills increase the pollution and pose hazards to the environment but at the same time their presence is necessary for the storage of waster material.

Construction of residential areas on these surfaces, because of the potential danger,
under the current conditions is almost impossible. With recreational facilities and
amusement parks, special requirements are needed to ensure safety systems.  A number of landfill facilities, such as leachate collection systems or groundwater-monitoring stations must continue to operate and be maintained.  Commercial and industrial areas can be used to reduce costs as they also provide direct and indirect financial revenues. The environment should be created that allows for the green areas to perform their assigned functions and satisfy the population that suffers from the pollution and other hazards of landfills.
The landfill size determines the type of use and whether on a former landfill area only from a system or several different will use concepts for the application. Medium-sized landfill areas can be combined with other forms of multiple re-use. Large landfills always allow the greatest latitude.
The inclusion of the former landfill area in the landscape, and the creation of recreational areas are suitable for all landfill sizes. This should however be taken into account that large landfill surfaces are combined to result in a large number of creating ecosystems through which the biodiversity within the landfill area could be greatly increased. This would also affect the environment positively.
The construction of commercial and industrial areas, and use as storage or terminal is, in principle suitable for all landfill sizes. Thus, on a large area, a regional operating commercial or industrial area can be constructed. An agricultural or forestry use is only suitable for medium-sized surfaces. Larger areas can be processed more easily than smaller sections.
Nevertheless, especially in agricultural use one should take into account that the structuring elements such as field tress and hedges can be established or maintained in order create habitats for the endangered animal and plant species. However, the construction of housing developments on landfill surfaces can cause additional costs. These costs arise, for example, by transport and water-power connections. 
Any use of the land for the energy sector is suitable as well.  Thus, for a few small areas or small wind turbines photovoltaic systems are built. For larger areas, wind farm or large solar power plants can be created to supply power production to a larger environment with fossil fuel savings.  It should contain a conceivable combination of both concepts.
The use of land for landfill gas use is also possible for all suitable sizes. The environmental impact of the various forms of re-use plays an important role therefore it should be directed to ensure that the various re-use concepts have no negative impacts on the environment.  The inclusion of the former landfill areas in the landscape, and the creation of successional areas, has a positive impact on the environment.
Waste prevention is the most suitable to prevent or reduce the production and toxicity of waste, especially in regard to the manufacturing and distribution of products. Prevention includes all stages of the life cycle of a product before it is considered as waste. Quantitative prevention is the reduction of weight and volume of waste, prevention for qualitative harmfulness of waste.
Prevention can be done by negotiating with industry and giving them goals. This is the case in France for plastic bags: supermarkets have pledged to reduce the number of plastic bags distributed in cash. The environmental management standards are also based on a voluntary business approach.

The other possibility is to make laws: it would be possible to compel a reduction of waste and prohibit certain compounds that become toxic waste (heavy metals and are already banned in some products). The state can then act through taxes for producers of waste: the case of eco-packaging with the Green Dot paid by all producers of packaging. However, this tax is too low to encourage them to reduce weight and / or harmfulness of packaging (only 1 / 3 of the actual cost of processing the package).

Bagchi, Amalendu (2004) “Design of landfills and integrated solid waste management” John Willey and Sons
Cooper, Sharon (2010) “Garbage Cans and Landfills” Heinemann/Raintree
Hauser, Victor (2008) “Evapotranspiration Covers for Landfills and Waste Sites” CRC Press
Lewis, Sangeeta(1994) “Waste containment systems, waste stabilization, and landfills: design and evaluation” Wiley-IEEE
Porter, Richard (2002) “The economics of waste” Resource for the future
Schoch, Robert (2003) “Environmental science: systems and solutions” Jones & Bartlett Learning
Tammemagi, HY(1999) “The waste crisis: landfills, incinerators, and the search for a sustainable future” Oxford University Press

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