The Impact of Municipal Solid Waste on the Environment

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The Impact of Municipal Solid Waste on the Environment

"We cannot adopt the way of living that was satisfactory a hundred years ago. The world in which we live has changed, and we must change with it"(Adler).
We are living in a consumist - throwaway society (see Figure 18–15) where there is little awareness about the impact of Municipal Solid Waste, "MSW—more commonly known as trash or garbage—consists of everyday items such as paper and paperboard (35.7%), yard waste (12.2%), food wastes (11.4%), plastics (11.1%), metals (7.9%), rubber, leather, and textiles (7.1%), wood (5.7%), glass (5.5%)" as shown in Figure 18-2 (United States Environmental Protection Agency, "Municipal"), on the environment. New York City is one of the largest
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Still others have suggested that ". . . social, economic and cultural systems cannot escape the rules of abiotic and biotic nature" (Kenworthy 75 – 76).
Our world is changing (Kump et al. 1). In fact, Earth has always been changing and will continue to do so for ages to come (Kump et al. 1). Earth is changing faster today than it has throughout most of its 4.6 billion-year history (Kump et al. 1). The cause of this accelerated pace of change is simple: human activity (Kump et al. 1). Human populations have expanded in numbers and in their technological abilities to the point at which we are now exerting a significant influence on our planet (Kump et al. 1). The effects of our actions are seen most clearly in the thin envelope of gases that supports our existence, the atmosphere, but they are observable elsewhere as well (Kump et al. 1). Forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and even the oceans exhibit the telltale signs of human activity (Kump et al. 1). All of us can think of situations in which human influence has clearly been detrimental to the environment, for example, cities plagued with polluted air and water (Kump et al. 1).
In a landfill, the waste is put on or in the ground and is covered with earth (Wright 493). Because there is no burning, and because each day's fill is covered with at least six inches of earth, air pollution and populations of vermin are kept down (Wright 493). Municipal waste managers
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