Landfill sites are patches of land, where waste materials and garbage from a village, town or city are dumped for disposal. The garbage is either burnt, buried or treated in this region, which is located a few miles away from the civilization. Even though landfills are the most effective way of waste treatment, and have been practiced for centuries, they have a number of side effects on the environment. Landfills include different types of wastes such as plastic, paper, wood, food, chemicals, etc., which need to be disposed by segregating them on the basis of their nature.
When these landfills are made in a particular area, there is fowl odor, possibility of diseases and contamination of the surrounding environment. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that every landfill is confined to an extremely small area and is covered with soil layers on a daily basis. Since, this pattern of disposal is not followed much, the long term impact of landfills can prove disastrous. Find out what are the ill effects of poor waste disposal, put together in the paragraphs below.
Hazardous Effects of Landfills
Landfills are usually designed to dispose solid and degradable waste matter by burying it under the soil. Therefore, the land area is first dug up deep enough to accumulate the garbage, the waste is poured into the ditch and is covered with layers of soil. This process of disposing solid waste is however, supposed to be done carefully, to make sure there are no hazards caused due to products of disposal. But many a time, with so much garbage that has to be disposed, there is lack of management, resulting in harmful effects of landfills.They are:
Release of Landfill Gas
Every landfill has a particular capacity of waste that it can accommodate, after which it is supposed to be closed. When the landfill is closed or capped, the entry of moisture or water is shunted thus keeping it away from excessive decomposition. However, the waste present inside the landfill already contains some amount of moisture which combines with other solid waste and starts degrading, releasing various types of gases. These landfill ages mainly include, methane and carbon dioxide, which give out a rotting odor. Since, the solid waste may also contain some toxic chemicals, the gases vaporize through the soil into the open and mix with the surrounding air.
Production of Leachate
Since garbage is disposed under the soil, there are risks of harmful chemicals combining with the ground water. Leachate is a toxic liquid that is produced when water or moisture gets mixed with the solid waste. When the rainwater falls on the soil, it seeps into the ground and can come in contact with the solid waste thus giving rise to leachate. Now, if there is a groundwater stream that comes in contact with this leachate, it is contaminated for use. To avoid the production of this toxic liquid, landfills should be covered with waterproof materials.
The greenhouse effect is defined as, sudden temperature elevations that occur because of unstable weather conditions. When landfills are left open or without the cap (cover to protect the rainwater from seeping in), there can be various harmful gases, such as; methane and carbon dioxide that are produced excessively. When the level of these gases increases, they interfere with the temperatures of the environment making the air warmer. This increase in temperature further makes the ice caps in the polar regions melt, and raises the sea level, disturbing the entire weather clock.
It's high time we understand the dangers that the open and unmaintained landfills pose to our environment. Though landfills are a necessity for garbage disposal, it is important to know how to use them, the right way. So, let's all resolve, to protect our environment.