Hazardous Waste Essay

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Hazardous waste and its proper disposal have become a major sociological problem today due to its capability of contaminating the area in which we live and its potential to be lethal to all living things. In order for the United States and the rest of the world to save itself from a potentially life threatening problem they must fix the causes which lead to the improper disposal of hazardous wastes and like materials. Some reasons that hazardous waste has become a problem in the United States today is due to the breakdown in enforcing laws for the proper disposal of such wastes, a lack of initiative on big companies behalf to spend money on proper disposal, and the ease of disposing of such wastes illegally.
The mistakes of the past
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Its true that well over 150 million Americans depend on groundwater for their everyday lives. The problem with this is that once groundwater is polluted or contaminated, rehabilitation is almost impossible. "A recent government report revealed that private and public water supplies have been contaminated in at least twenty-five states"(Block, 1985, p.51). These poisonous chemicals can accumulate underground and stay in the same locations for lengthy periods of time. These chemicals never evaporating or breaking down from the rays of the sun can possibly "accumulate in aquifers for hundreds of thousands of years, during which time they may continually spoil the groundwater that flows through the area"(Block, 1985, p.53). The major factor that allows these practices to go on is the failure of enforcement.
Government agencies like the EPA are given the authority to investigate hazardous waste dumpers and illegal landfills. However, there are so few regulations on the proper handling of toxic wastes that these toxic waste dumpers have almost an open invitation to continue their practices.
The enforcement record against toxic waste dumpers is not nearly as strong as the enforcement record was against bootlegers during Prohibition. . . . Enforcement failure occurs for three reasons – a regulatory policy of minimal compliance . . . political and law enforcement

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