The Effects of Garbage on Our Environment

Garbage is very harmful to our environment. It poses dangerous risks to our land water, and air. Landfills overfilling with garbage destroy profitable land, and take many years to regain the nutrients and the land destroyed. Sewage water poured into oceans poison fish and other marine wildlife. Emissions that come out of cars limit the amount of air and oxygen we have to breathe. As you can see, garbage is harmful to our environment.

Garbage is very harmful to our environment because of the ways it is currently being disposed. Some of the ways we currently dispose of it are recycling, composting, hazardous material disposal, landfills, and incineration. Recycling is a cost-effective way to dispose of specific things such as metal scraps, paper, and plastic because it wastes less energy to make a new item out of an old item than to make a new item from scratch. For example, it takes almost eight hours of electricity to make enough aluminum for thirty-four aluminum cans, but only takes an hour of electricity to make the same amount of cans from recycled aluminum. In addition, new aluminum has to go through the process of extraction the needed materials, refining the materials, smelting, and casting the aluminum while a recycled can only has to be shredded, melted, and casted before it can start the process again. It takes less energy and materials to make a new can from an old can. Composting is another way to get rid of garbage such as untreated paper, fruit scraps, vegetable scraps, and biodegradable plastic. It is also a cost-effective way of disposing of specific items because you can dig a put it in your backyard and until it rots. It also gives your plants much-needed nutrients when it decays. Therefore, it is a harmless way of disposing of specific garbage.

Properly disposing of hazardous materials is important, so another effective way that we currently use to get rid of garbage is hazardous material disposal. There are certain facilities designed to dispose of dangerous materials that would otherwise contaminate land if put into a landfill. Some of these materials are used paint cans, used oil, and chemical-based items such as bleach. One of the hardest hazardous materials to dispose of is syringes, because those contain disease, and disease is very easy to transmit.

Even though we recycle, compost, and dispose of hazardous materials, we still practice dangerous and unsafe ways of taking care of trash, such as landfills and incineration. Landfills have both a positive and a negative impact on the environment. After trash is packed into a hole about twenty feet deep (six and a half yards), dirt, clay, or asphalt is packed an inch or two above it so the smell does not appear and so that random trash does not fly away. Then a tube is inserted to suck out all the methane the garbage produces since the element is flammable. The methane can be used as a form of electricity. However, landfills also have a negative effect on the environment. If it leaks, it will contaminate surrounding water and surrounding groundwater. The water will travel to the nearest ocean or lake and poison the wildlife there.

One last way that we currently dispose of trash is by incinerating it. Combusting, or incinerating, burns garbage and turns water into steam as the same time. The steam is then used to turn turbine engines, which produces electricity. Incinerating trash then turns the volume to twenty percent of the original volume. You might think this is a good thing, because then landfills can fill more, right? However, incinerating trash has a bad effect on the environment. It creates exhaust and emissions, which contributes to air pollution, and air pollution contributes to global warming. As you can see, recycling, composting, and disposing of hazardous materials only take care of a small percentage of garbage. The rest goes to either a combustion facility or a landfill, which both contribute to pollution. Leaky landfills contribute to water pollution and incinerating contributes to air pollution.

Garbage also harms the environment because it results in pollution if you dispose of it in a certain way. As stated above, landfills might leak chemicals into surrounding bodies of water and any water under it, such as groundwater. Then the lake or groundwater may evaporate and cause acid rain or poison larger bodies of water. Acid rain is caused by depositing wet and dry acidic components, such as water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. This happens when a large amount of carbon dioxide enters clouds. Then when it rains, the elements mixed together kill plants, pollute water, and erode stonework. Incineration also pollutes the environment as stated above. Incineration is guaranteed to lead to a lot of air pollution and acid rain, while landfills are not that bad because there is only a small chance that they will leak since they are usually sealed properly. As you can see, a few of the ways we dispose of garbage result in pollution.