Landfill sites

In South East Asia, as is the case throughout much of the world, significant tonnages of biodegradable waste are sent to landfill.

Landfills can have devastating effects upon the environment:

Methane gas emission

The danger of landfill sites

Leachate contamination

No liner can keep all liquids out of the ground for all time. Eventually the liners will either tear or crack and will allow liquids to migrate out of the unit.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Although many landfills are fitted with pipes and liners designed to route and contain leachate, according to the EPA, no system offers full, indefinite protection.

Consequences of leaks

The extent to which toxic landfill contaminants surpress the imune system has been underestimated.

Dr David O Carpenter, Director of the Institute for Health and the ENvironment at the State University of New York and Albany.

A landfill leak allows toxins to escape directly into the environment, often leading to soil, water, and air contamination. Studies have shown that various health risks are associated with living in the proximity of a landfill, including:

 

The future of landfill

Although many governments have passed legislation to try to reduce reliance on landfill for waste disposal, it is still the most cost effective method, and is therefore likely to remain the most prevalent waste disposal process.

The opportunity

Since landfill sites will continue to generate landfill gas for many years, there is a tremendous opportunity to stabilise and regulate these sites to optimise the production of biofuels and minimise the adverse impact on the environment.

Using landfill gas involves citizens, local governments and industry in sustainable community planning. Commitments to cleaner air, reductions in greenhouse gases and renewable energy go hand-in-hand with economic development, improved public welfare and safety.

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