The world population has more than doubled since 1960. If you take 1950 as the base year then the population has grown from 2.5 billion to 7.5 billion. Thousands of cities have been developed in the same time and millions of small villages have been developed in clusters as townships. With such an unprecedented expansion, there has been a crisis, that of waste management. The world is running out of landfills and with e-waste is becoming a global hazard the problem has become more severe. Landfills are utilitarian but they do have their limitations and dangers. Let us explore the pros and cons of landfills.
Pros of Landfills
1. Landfills are convenient to use.
They don’t need the waste to be transported from its source where it is generated to another distant or remote area where it would be dumped. The cost of transporting humongous waste, especially from large cities to remote regions of the country can run into millions in a year. The fact that the peripheral areas of most metropolises and even suburbs have become developed and cannot have landfills further complicates the challenge.
2. Landfills can use the waste generated in a city, town or district and produce energy.
There can be confined landfills that are not exactly next to human habitation or farmland and can be safely used in an eco friendly way to generate energy that can power the needs of the facility and the locals. The carbon dioxide and methane exuding from landfills can be harnessed to generate power. This also reduces the quantum of the waste present in landfills.
3. Landfills can keep cities, towns and districts clean.
Any region that doesn’t have a landfill or when the habitants know there is no efficient waste management system in place, the people would simply litter the roads, throw waste anywhere they feel like and dump large waste the nearest vacant lot they get that is not under surveillance.
4. Landfills are relatively safer than other waste management and disposal techniques.
Incinerators in particular are hazardous for their toxic byproducts. Landfills have their share of risks but not as major ones as other options.
Cons of Landfills
1. Toxic waste continues to pileup.
The most concerning problem of landfills is the toxic waste in the pileup will blend with the water or snow, when it rains or snows, and that can flow out of the landfill, contaminate ground water, damage crops and can cause serious health problems.
2. Methane is a concern.
It is fatal for humans and can cause significant damage to our eco-system. Methane can cause chronic and terminal diseases. It can also light up easily and entire landfills can be on fire in no time.
3. Dust, pollution and particulate matter would emanate from landfills.
Most landfills are open. The toxic waste would exude gases. There will be dust and all kinds of microbes as well as heavy metals.