Waste Management

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Municipal waste is disposed of in three different ways. As of 2004 it is estimated that 71 percent is land filled, 16 percent incinerated, and 13 percent recycled. Other wastes that have to be disposed of are nuclear and hazardous wastes. The environmental effects of different waste management solutions will be discussed as well as ideal ways, in my opinion, to dispose of different forms of solid wastes.
Landfills are the most commonly used form of disposing wastes today. It is also a form of disposal that causes many environmental impacts that are in need of addressing. A major effect of landfills is Leachate, a contaminated liquid that percolates through the waste in a landfill and probably the most addressed issue. This contaminated liquid can soak into the ground and cause water contamination according to the Department of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University. Another effect of landfills is air pollution. Not only can air pollution from landfills contribute to acid rain and green house gases but it can also have an impact on the citizens around it. Soil gas migration can cause a four-fold elevation of risk for bladder cancer and leukemia among women reported a study at the New York Health Department’s website.
The second form of waste disposal is incineration. This type of disposal releases many air pollutants to include admium, lead, mercury, dioxin, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide contribute to acid rain and smog. The incinerators mainly contribute to air pollution but the ash left over from burning waste has to be buried in landfills thus contributing to ground pollution too.
The last waste management system is recycling. Recycling consists of processing used or abandoned materials for use in creating new products. This method was created to address issues created from the other two forms of waste management and has a positive impact on the environment. It helps to reduce the amount of waste needed for disposal by making a portion of it available for reuse.
Hazardous and Nuclear waste disposal is a very serious issue. It can cause soil contamin...

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By implementing these programs I feel that waste making it to our landfills will be greatly eliminated. This will allow waste management agencies to focus more energy and time studying other ways of controlling the negative effects of wastes that does make it to landfills. A recycle conscience society can preserve the earth for many generations to come.

Works Cited

Getis, Arthur et al. Introduction to Geography. New York: McGraw Hill, 2004.

New York State Department of Health. Health Department Releases Landfill Study. 21 Aug. 1998. 26 June 2005. < releases/1998/landfill.html>

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Summaries of Related Solid Waste Incineration Rules. 10 June 2002. 26 June 2005.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Municipal Solid Waste. 3 June 2005. 25 June 2005.

Zaslow, Sandra. “Health Effects of Drinking Water Contaminants.” North Carolina Cooperative Extension. June 1995. North Carolina State University. 26 June 2005.