Air Pollution – Emissions into Atmosphere
Landfills create a clear and obvious threat to human health as well as a threat to our environment from the hazardous contaminated air emissions emitted from the landfill biodegradation. There are over ten toxic gases released from landfills, of the most serious of which is methane. Methane gas is naturally produced during the process of decay of organic matter. As methane gas is formed, it builds up pressure and then begins to move through the soil. In a recent study of 288 landfills, off-site migration of gases, including methane, has been detected at 83% of these landfill sites. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Studies have shown significantly reduced height among children who live near Love Canal, the chemical waste dump near Niagara Falls, NY. It has also been shown that people living close to landfills suffer from lung and heart diseases from the toxic gasses that are released from the landfill degradation. Love Canal Follow-up Health Study
Ground Water Pollution - Emissions into Water
The key environmental problem we face as a result of landfills is groundwater pollution from leachates (the liquid that drains or 'leaches' from a landfill). Although they intended to protect human beings from toxins, due to natural deterioration the protective barriers only delay the inevitable. When a new municipal landfill is proposed, advocates of the project always emphasize that “no hazardous wastes will enter the landfill”. However several studies have shown that even though municipal landfills may not legally receive “hazardous” wastes, the leachate they produce is as dangerous as leachate from hazardous waste landfills. The major issue caused with landfill leachates is the leakage of a large number of toxins into fresh water waterways, which ultimately end up in our homes as drinking water or water for everyday use. Since landfills are most often located in and around large bodies of fresh water...
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