Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Mankind may die under billions of tons of its own garbage

The government of Mexico decided to close the largest landfill in Latin America, Bordo Poniente, located not far from the capital of the country. The landfill is set to be closed in January 2009.

The garbage range taking about 1,000 hectares of land became a target for local environment activists long ago. The liquidation of the landfill will mark the end of their long-standing struggle.

No one in the world knows what should be done with tens of thousands of tons of garbage, which appear every day. If mankind does not find a revolutionary method to process its own garbage, the consequences will follow during the upcoming several years.

Not less than 60 million tons of household garbage have been dumped on Bordo Poniente during 13 years of its existence. The giant landfill comes second after the infamous Plastic Soup in the Pacific Ocean – the floating dump of up to 100 million tons of rubbish which takes about one million of square kilometers.

Ecologists say that the Mexican landfill shows an immense influence on the environment. It goes about subsidence first and foremost – the hole depth may reach 13 meters in some places. As a result, liquid products of decomposition penetrate into subterranean waters, making them absolutely unusable.

Such landfills are dangerous for several reasons. They poison ground waters and create hotbeds of decay, where methane often triggers massive fires which are very hard to extinguish.

The poisonous smoke emitted as a result of the open combustion of garbage produces a very harmful influence on people’s health. To make matters worse, landfills generate hundreds of extremely dangerous germs.

The international community does not have a clue to solving the recycling problem. The majority of people, who produce dozens of kilograms of garbage a day, sincerely believe that their garbage disappears itself immediately after they throw a garbage bag in a can.

An average person produces not less than 350 kilos of garbage a year. Ten percent of this amount will be burnt, eighty percent will be buried, and the remaining ten percent will be left on the ground surface. Mankind throws out up to 2.1 trillion tons of garbage a year. This figure continues to grow every year.

Specialists say that the garbage problem is as serious as the problem of the global warming or nuclear weapons.

The supervisor of the toxic program of Greenpeace in Russia, Aleksey Kiselev, said that the problem with garbage is very serious in Russia.

“Up to 97 percent of garbage is buried, and three percent is burnt. This approach is wrong, to put it mildly. Russia has both technological opportunities and financial means to solve the problems of recycling. Russian politicians need to realize the importance of this problem to give it a go,” he told RBC Daily.

Novy Region