Waste Incinerators and Landfills

Research Proposal
Pages 16 (4016 words)
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The literature has reported that the debate over the use of waste incinerators in favor of landfill continues. Incinerators result in toxic air emissions and toxic ash. It is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that 80% of the dioxin found in the United States is due to municipal and medical waste incinerator air emissions.


These ash landfills must be monitored continuously since the toxins in them are not biodegradable and they never become non-toxic. Due to these concerns and the Clean Air Act, many incinerators have been shut down (Toxic Alert, 2002).
Detroit began the building of the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Incinerator in 1986. It is the largest incinerator of any municipality found in the U.S. It is legally allowed to release over 25 tons of hazardous air pollutants and over 1,800 tons of additional pollutants yearly, to include lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and particulate matter. Detroit inhabitants are reported to have higher incidence of health concerns compared to other areas. Detroit children (40%) located near the city center and the area containing the incinerator, have elevated blood lead levels. Detroit has among the highest asthma rates in the countries which is three times that of the national average. The city has the third largest asthma-related death incidence. The city will spend million to burn and landfill 600,000 tons of trash. It is reported that the use of landfill disposal as an alternative would save the city million per year; the addition of a recycling program would result in savings of million per year. ...
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