Landfills are the oldest form of waste treatment. They are the most shared and organized waste disposal systems in the world. Landfills work as storage places for solid wastes and play an intermediary role before transferring and processing, like recycling.
All landfills must fulfill some predefined specifications, which are, selecting a small area that will act as a dumping ground; strategically compress the waste to reduce its volume; cover the waste with layers of soil once it is compressed to level the field.
Most wastelands have volume criteria, and they do not accept wastes that surpass this criterion.
Records are collected to keep track of the volume of garbage deposited, and yearly statistics are produced. Sometimes green wastes are also layered over these wastes instead of soil. Waste densities differ from place to place and depend 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:
Pacific trash vortex, as it is popularly called 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 of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and miscellaneous wastes from North Pacific Gyre traps. The gyres are ocean currents that bring in all sorts of waste dumped into the Pacific from the coasts to this patch.
- Bordo Poniente Landfill, Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico
Mexico’s biggest landfill collected approximately 12,000 tons of garbage per day before shutting down in 2011. Before its 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 the Olusosun landfill, which covers up to 100-acres of land filled with a dump in the state of Lagos, Nigeria. It is said to be the largest dump yard in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. This yard acquires approximately 10,000 tons of waste per day, which comes from the city and container ships, which include a very alarming rate of electronic waste. The garbage is treated to bring out recyclable products, which results in a huge amount of air pollution. The dump yard is surrounded by a locality of people who scavenge the dump yard for scraps. The landfill was supposed to be away from the locality and the city. Still, in recent years, Lagos Landfill has expanded, and now it is near the residential areas threatening the health of the inhabitants.
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 turn up at this landfill each day. The landfill, as of now, contains 50 million tons of waste.
Initiated 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. Sudokwon receives domestic waste along with commercial trash from the metropolitan areas. The residues are used to generate electricity. Located in Incheon, South Korea, this landfill releases a large amount of methane gas, which can have substantial implications on people’s health.
India is not far from making it to the list, given its vast waste generation every year. Even though landfill is a good solid waste management system, let’s try to make our world clean and green instead of land-filled one.