Landfills are the oldest form of waste treatment. Landfills are the most shared and organized waste disposal systems of the world. Landfills not only help in solid waste management, but they also work as storage places for these wastes and their further transfer and processing like recycling. Landfills have some predefined specifications that they need to meet, which are, selecting a small area which will act as a dumping ground as; strategically compress the waste to reduce its volume; cover the waste with layers of soil once it is compressed to level the field. Wastelands have volume criteria beyond which they won’t accept the waste depending on the size of the dump yard. After disposal bulldozers spread and compress the waste.
There are records that are collected to keep to track the volume of garbage deposited and a yearly statistics is produced. Sometimes green wastes are also layered over these wastes instead of soil. Waste densities differ from place to place and depends upon the compressibility of the waste and the number of turns the roller takes on the waste. Landfills also help in the production of natural gas such as methane which is the potential green fuel of the future.There are large dump zones all over the world. Few of them are listed below:
• Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Pacific Ocean:
Pacific trash vortex as it is popularly described, the Pacific Garbage Patch is the world’s biggest garbage disposal site. The patch covers an “indeterminate area”, varying in chemical concentration. The piece consists pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and miscellaneous wastes that are trapped by North Pacific Gyre. The gyres are ocean currents which bring all sorts of wastes that are dumped into the Pacific from the coasts to this patch.
- Bordo Poniente Landfill, Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico:
Mexico’s biggest landfill used to intake approximately 12,000 tons of garbage per day before it was shut down in 2011. Before closure, it occupied 370 hectares of land containing more than 60 million tons of waste. Since its opening in 1985, it was the sole landfill in Mexico, it still is. Lacking an alternative dump-yard, Mexicans still dispose of vast amounts of their garbage in Bordo Poniente Landfill.
• Lagos Dump, Nigeria:
The Lagos Dump is also called Olusosun landfill which covers up to 100-acres of land filled with a dump in the state of Lagos in Nigeria. It is said to be the largest dump-yard in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. This yard accepts approximately 10,000 tons of waste per day which not only comes from the city but also from container ships which include a very alarming rate of electronic waste. The garbage is treated to bring out the recyclable products which result in huge amount of air pollution. The dump-yard is surrounded by locality where people who scavenge the dump-yard for scraps live. The landfill was supposed to be away from the locality or city but in recent years, Lagos Landfill has expanded and now it is near the residential areas threatening the health of the inhabitants.
• Apex Regional Landfill, Las Vegas, Nevada:
Apex Landfill is situated in Clark County, Nevada. It is the largest landfill in the United States of America covering up to 2,200 acres and is also listed as one of the biggest landfills in the world, owned by Republic Services. It is located just outside the city limits of North Las Vegas. Approximately 9,000 tons of waste from Vegas turns up at this landfill each day. The landfill as of now contains 50 million tons of waste.
• Sudokwon Landfill, South Korea:
Opening in 1992, this landfill currently holds about 88 million tons of waste. It collects almost 18,000 to 20,000 tons of waste per day and about 6.3 million tons per year. Located in Incheon, South Korea, this landfill releases a big amount of methane gas which in the future can have substantial implications on the health of the people. Sudokwon receives domestic waste along with commercial trash from the metropolitan areas. The residues are used to generate electricity.
India is not far from making the list given its vast amount of waste generation every year. Even though landfill is a good solid waste management system, let’s try to make our world clean and green one instead of land-filled one.