Wasting Away Waste And Landfill
Landfills are the old form of waste treatment and are still commonly used in most places around the world. Since the advent of agriculture, humans have had to deal with garbage disposal. Yesterday’s dump was a pit or hill on the outskirts of town that played host to disease-carrying rodents, insects, and dangerous objects.
Today, the number of “open landfills” in the world directly effect half of the world’s population, 3.5 billion people. 1
My study of waste and garbage has given me an insight into how civilizations handled waste through history.
A Brief History of the Beginning
The first recorded find of a “landfill” was in North America.
Archaeological studies shows a clan of Native Americans in what is now Colorado produced an average of 5.3 pounds of waste a day. That was in 6500BC. Americans today produce about 5.4 pounds of waste per day. 2
Then in 500 BC, Athens Greece organized the first municipal dump in western world. Regulations required waste to be dumped at least a mile from the city limits.
The New Testament of Bible refers to waste
Jerusalem Palestine, in the Valley of Gehenna also called Sheoal in the New Testament of the Bible “Though I descent into Sheol, thou art there.” Sheoal was apparently a dump outside of the city of that periodically burned. It became synonymous with “hell.”
The Threat of Waste
Throughout history trash has played a continuous but invisible role. The diseases spawned during the middle ages devastated the world’s population but our history books talk about it and the rats but never do they talk about the garbage and the waste as having any responsibility for the diseases. 3
How Much Waste is too Much
Current global Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generation levels are approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year, and are expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025. This represents a significant increase in per capita waste generation rates, from 1.2 kg (2.64 lb) to 1.42 kg (3.12 lb) per person per day in the next fifteen years. However, global averages are broad estimates only as rates vary considerably by region, country, city, and even within cities. 4
MSW generation rates are influenced by economic development, the degree of industrialization, public habits, and local climate. Generally, the higher the economic development and rate of urbanization, the greater the amount of solid waste produced.
A Population of Wasters
Trash is becoming a larger and larger problem for us and for the environment. As the global population grows and the people continue to concentrate in metropolitan areas, we continue to waste more and more, and, we use more of our natural resources. Our global resources are running short.
Green Fire Engineered Reclamation is designed and dedicated to Landfill Mining and the sciences associated with it. We can’t stop the waste or the flow of waste but we can arrest some of the environmental influences of the open landfills. Open landfills contribute about 20% to the global pollution, water, air and disease.
Join with us to effect change.
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Chief Information Officer at Green Fire Engineered Reclamation
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1. ISWA calls open dumps a ‘global health emergency’
“open dumpsites receive roughly 40 per cent of the world’s waste and serve about 3.5 to 4 billion people;”
2. In the earlier report, they warned that global solid waste generation was on pace to increase 70 percent by 2025, rising from more than 3.5 million tonnes per day in 2010 to more than 6 million tonnes per day by 2025. The waste from cities alone is already enough to fill a line of trash trucks 5,000 kilometers long every day. The global cost of dealing with all that trash is rising too: from $205 billion a year in 2010 to $375 billion by 2025, with the sharpest cost increases in developing countries.
3. “Trash has played a tremendous role in history. The Bubonic Plague, cholera and typhoid fever, to mention a few, were diseases that altered the populations of Europe and influenced monarchies. They were perpetuated by filth that harbored rats, and contaminated water supply. It was not uncommon for Europeans to throw their garbage and even human wastes out of the window. They figured that stray dogs would eat whatever they threw out. “
Kenneth Barbalace. The History of Waste. EnvironmentalChemistry.com. Aug. 2003. Accessed on-line: 11/12/2016 http://EnvironmentalChemistry.com/yogi/environmental/wastehistory.html
4. “The planet is already straining from the impacts of today’s waste and we are on a path to more than triple quantities,” the authors write. “Through a move towards stable or declining populations, denser and better-managed cities consuming fewer resources, and greater equity and use of technology, we can bring peak waste forward and down. The environmental, economic and social benefits would be enormous.”
The article, Waste Production Must Peak This Century, is the cover story in the Oct. 31, 2013, issue of Nature.