Mount Trash: The Harmful Effects of Landfills

Do you remember driving down I-275 and seeing the huge landfill? Well, if you have not seen it, it is not a sight you can miss because of its massive bulk. It keeps growing year after year and with it, the negative effects it has on its surrounding enviroment.

Landfills are planned areas of land where solid waste material is buried beneath various layers of the earth. It is isolated from natural groundwater, so that it is able to keep dry. A daily layer of soil is added on top so that the waste does not come in contact with the air. Unlike a compost pile, a landfill does not decompose its wastes and instead just merely buries the trash. To prevent contamination of the natural groundwater, landfills must be monitored for, at the minimum, 30 years!

If a landfill is not monitored like it is supposed to be, serious health effects may spring up. Hazardous materials in landfills such as batteries, toxic chemicals, and discarded electronics, to name a few, may lead to certain types of cancer including stomach cancer, colon cancer, and esophageal cnacer , genetic mutations, birth defects, upper respiratory problems, and irritation of the skin, nose, and eyes. Some minor symptoms associated with living near a contaminated landfill is increased stress, fatigue, sleepiness, and headaches.

The answer to this growing problem is to recycle. Everybody can avoid all these potential health risks, by recycling their batteries, extra chemical, and other hazardous materials by researching when their local community is sponsoring a hazardous waste recycle day. If your community does not participate in this day at least once a year, the Green Team encourages you to call the mayor of your city to try and start one up! Don’t let Mount Trash foul your day!!