The problem with wastes is that they don’t magically disappear once you have disposed of them. Instead, most of them end up in landfills that cause the production of greenhouse gases and methane that contribute to global warming.
How do landfills contribute to global warming?
- Landfills produce methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide by up to 72 times. Without oxygen, trash is stored in the landfill to decompose slowly with the help of the bacteria present in organic waste. This is what causes methane, which is dangerous, especially when allowed to gather underground. Steps are being taken to prevent methane from doing so much harm. For example, newer landfills use pipes to collect methane gas, generating electricity, manufacturing, and transport. While it is a welcome development, it still doesn’t resolve the problem on the ground.
- Many wastes are thrown by people that contain harmful chemicals, and they all end up in landfills or get burned. Both methods cause damaging effects to the environment and aggravate air pollution. Studies have also shown the potential leaking of these landfills in the future. When this happens, toxic wastes and chemicals will end up polluting land and bodies of water.
- The incinerators in many landfills release air pollutants. These pollutants pose significant risks to the people living nearby as they become prone to developing respiratory ailments and cancer. While gasification is considered green, it is not a good practice since toxins penetrate the air.
- These landfills contain other harmful gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen. They can cause breathing difficulties, nausea, coughing, and irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes.
It may take time before something can be done to prevent landfills from causing pollution, but you can do your share by disposing of your garbage properly and practicing recycling.