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.Know More
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
Agricultural waste may produce several harmful effects, including health risks and contamination of surrounding water bodies and the atmosphere. Agricultural waste, if not properly disposed of, can cause short-term and long-term effects on ecosystems, land and broader environments by introducing foreign toxins into the soil and water.Full Answer >
Toxic or hazardous waste comes from a variety of sources and is considered the by-product of any hazardous substance that is thrown away, properly or improperly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hazardous waste is most commonly a result of manufacturing or industrial processes, but factories and similar sites are not the only producers. Hazardous waste can also be generated by small businesses, health-care facilities and individual homes.Full Answer >
Nuclear waste is caused by industrial, scientific and medical processes that use radioactive materials. The most significant source of nuclear waste is a nuclear reactor. Fuel used in nuclear reactors to generate heat for electricity becomes nuclear waste after it has been used for years.Full Answer >
Non-biodegradable waste is a type of waste that can not be broken down into its base compounds by micro-organisms, air, moisture or soil in a reasonable amount of time. Non-biodegradable waste is an environmental concern, as it threatens to overwhelm landfills and create disposal problems.Full Answer >