The waste that we generate in our day to day ends up being transferred to large deposits where they will accumulate indefinitely, these deposits are called landfills. The large increase in waste means that more landfills are needed, which in the long term are a problem for the environment. Recycling and giving waste a second life can be an option to curb the increase in garbage in landfills, but the reality is that in most countries they do not have good waste management, with the consequence that the Most of the waste ends up in controlled landfills or even illegal landfills.
What are landfills
As a definition of landfill, or also known as garbage dump , we can say that it is a facility intended for the storage of waste underground or on the surface for an indefinite time under conditions of safety and control, thus ensuring that deterioration does not occur. of the environment avoiding the contamination of the soil and water, the transmission of diseases, the generation of dangerous substances or a possible source of fires.
There are different types of landfills , controlled landfills and illegal landfills.
Controlled landfills are those that have a total waterproofing of the soil , pipes in charge of collecting the biogas that is generated by the decomposition of waste, which can be used to produce energy, and also have a system to channel leachates , these being also a product of decomposition. Learn more about what leachates are and their treatment with this other post.
These landfills have the objective of preventing problems in the environment and there are different types depending on the waste they collect.
- Inert waste landfills: in this type of landfill, waste will be deposited that can be classified as: construction or demolition rubble, breakage through the manufacture of parts or elements for the construction sector, which originate in the repair of infrastructures or that come from minor works. They are those wastes that do not undergo chemical, physical or biological transformations.
- Non-hazardous waste landfills : these landfills collect all household waste that has been mixed, those that come from urban cleaning or industrial waste, commercial waste is also included and those that are similar to urban waste classified as non-hazardous.
- Hazardous waste landfills: the wastes that are destined for this type of landfill are those that are oxidizing, that is, those that have highly exothermic reactions when they come into contact with other substances. Also explosives, since they are more sensitive to shocks or frictions, as well as carcinogenic, flammable, harmful, toxic, corrosive or infectious residues. These landfills also include ecotoxic waste , which is a real danger to the environment, since the risks they present are immediate.
Illegal landfills are found throughout the world, especially in the poorest countries due to the lack of legislation that manages proper waste collection and due to the economic capacity to create adequate infrastructure. These landfills do not have any type of control or security to protect the environment or health, so they are major sources of contamination and diseases.
The need to create more and more landfills as a result of the growing generation of waste has caused serious problems, not only at the environmental level, but also at the economic, social and health level. Although all landfills cause environmental impacts , illegal landfills are the most dangerous, both for the health of living beings and for the environment. These are the main consequences of landfills :
- It is necessary to increase the occupation of the space for the creation of new landfills, this leads to an increase in the deterioration of the landscapes that surround us.
- They cause water pollution , whether surface or groundwater, as well as soil pollution and air pollution .
- The existence of these are triggers of diseases in living beings and contribute to the alteration in their life cycles, as well as the bioaccumulation of harmful substances in species that end up in the trophic chain until they even reach humans.
- Landfills pose a great risk because they can be a major source of fires, since many of the waste that is deposited in them is flammable.
- Bad odors are generated due to the decomposition of the waste, affecting the areas closest to the landfill.
- A large economic investment is needed for waste management and for the decontamination and restoration of areas affected by landfills.
- Inequalities between countries arise as the richest regions sell the waste to the poorer regions, turning them into landfills.
- Increase in the number of disease-transmitting animals in areas where waste accumulates.