A landfill is a large, open area that was made just for throwing trash away. There are different kinds of garbage dumps. Different landfills accept different kinds of trash, such as:
- Waste from businesses
- Dangerous trash
- Debris from building and tearing down
Municipal Solid Waste, or MSW, is what most people call trash or household waste.
When you think of a landfill, you might vision a place where you can put your trash. This is called a Class 3 landfill in South Carolina. In a typical year, people in South Carolina make about 4.2 million tons of this kind of trash or junk. 70.5% of all the trash in the state goes to Class 3 landfills (or nearly 3 million tonnes). The rest of the state’s MSW, which is 1.1 million tons, is recycled.
Why do we need landfills in SC
Reducing trash, reusing it, and recycling it keep a lot of it out of landfills, but not all of it. That trash needs to be taken care of in the right way to protect both the environment and people’s health.
Officials in charge of public health in South Carolina say that Palmetto Landfill, the state’s largest solid waste disposal site, gets half of all the trash brought into the state from other states. Palmetto was opened by Garbage Management of South Carolina in 1979 as a 110-acre landfill that mostly took in industrial waste. The landfill can hold 1.2 million tonnes of trash per year. If it fills up, 100 more truckloads of trash will be dumped there every day.
In Aiken, South Carolina, there is a place to put trash. Since 1968, when it first opened, it has grown to cover the whole property and now has four different landfills.
Landfill only takes municipal solid waste from within a 10-mile radius of its location. However, it will take other types of waste if customers ask for it or if local supplies aren’t enough to meet the needs of homes within that radius.
The Pelion Landfill was made in 1976. It is in Anderson County. When a fire shut it down in 1993, it was never fully capped. Since then, the landfill has been turned back on and is now used by the textile industry as a place to store sludge and extra fabric.
It is a landfill in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. It is the largest landfill in South Carolina and the third-largest landfill in the United States.
The site was originally developed as a dump for local industries such as Textile Mills and Foundries that were using waste materials from their operations like old tires and plastic bottles to create products like carpeting or furniture covers etc.
Landfills’ Environmental Impacts
Pollution of the groundwater
Organic and inorganic trash breaks down under rain, releasing harmful chemicals into groundwater. After being cleaned with chemicals, wastewater typically contains bacteria, hazardous organic compounds, harmful metals, and chlorine. This might pollute adjacent groundwater. This combination may swiftly take oxygen from water due to its high biological oxygen requirement. Poisonous compounds in rivers or lakes may kill aquatic life.
The effects of soil fertility
When dangerous materials and decomposing organic waste are mixed together, it could change the quality of the soil around a dump. Because local plants may stop growing or changing for good, this could hurt biodiversity even more.
Effects on health
Landfills hurt the environment because they smell bad, look bad, and are places where diseases can grow. Due to the growing number of rats and mice in areas near landfills, people are getting sick more often. Exposure to landfills has also been linked to birth defects, cancer, and breathing problems.
Most people think we should try to avoid putting trash in landfills or at least send less of it there. To live a zero-waste lifestyle, you have to avoid single-use plastics and choose alternatives that are sustainable and can be used more than once.
This will help protect the environment, help the community, and help build a circular economy. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the most important things to do here. This means reducing your “consumption” as much as possible, reusing as much as you can, recycling what you can, composting what you can’t, and sending the small amount of trash you still make to a landfill. It means putting in extra effort to make better decisions.