Trash Is Not an Issue

"All the American waste of the entire twenty-first century will fit into a single landfill."—Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish author, academic, and environmental writer.

Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 208.

Older dumps and landfills are known to produce various forms of pollution. As the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) noted in a 1997 report,

"Among . . . the nation's most hazardous and contaminated locations, more than 20 percent are former municipal landfills."6 As organic wastes decompose, they release poisonous gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. If methane makes its way into people's basements, it can cause explosions. In addition, the decaying organic wastes create liquid that collects toxins as it seeps through dumps and landfills. Experts say this liquid—known as leachate—is typically a toxic brew of petroleum-based chemicals mixed with water.

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