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Re: E-M:/ Waste removal



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Enviro-Mich message from "Pete Pasterz" <ppasterz@pplant.msu.edu>
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Chris---

Let me take a stab at this, since I haven't seen any others today...

Your first question seems to be answered by it's following statement...that is that, yes, what we all SHOULD be doing more recycling and composting, no matter which side of the  Detroit River we reside on....   Not to mention that we should also be reducing waste up front, instead of "managing" it in the form of recycling, landfilling or incinerating.  [Some might be asking here WHY we should recycle compost and reduce...well, there are major reductions in virgin resource use--you might  know these resources by the names "forest", "sand dune", "mountain side", "lake", etc.    In addition, recycling and reduction use less energy, which is mainly provided to us through fossil fuels, the burning of which cause major air and climate problems]

Your next question is part of the answer...yes, when there are painful choices to be made [political, economic] on managing garbage which is confined to the local level, it normally results in more incentive and innovation in really reducing the amount of discards, because residents don't want a landfill or incinerator in their backyards.    When there are CHEAP, distant alternatives, the study of human societies has shown our natural inclination is that we use them---out of sight=out of mind.

>From Mother Earth's perspective, the difference  WHERE garbage is disposed makes is largely in the impacts of getting it there.   Subsidized hauling through underpriced fuels and sprawling highway systems allow for the "economic" hauling of trash from Toronto, in 250 diesel trucks/day over 200 miles  one way.   This will have SIGNIFICANT impacts on Air quality--all areas: particulates, NOx, CO, and CO2....problems on the ground and in the atmosphere...not to mention increased road maintenance and construction, which may effect land use and senstive ecosystems.    And increased traffic means increased noise and traffic accident risk--a major "environmental" problem which has very acute effects on its victims.

You're right about the disposal point, though.   Assuming Canadian landfill regulations are as "stingent' [lax?] as US/Michigan regs, it makes little difference to the Earth WHERE garbage is landfilled...because all such locations are subject to the same reality; the liners of all so-called "dry-tomb" landfills will fail, causing leakage of a brew of organic chemicals that have been percolating in an oxygen-free environment for 30 plus years into the groundwater.    Until we change these systems to require aerobic composting of organics, even if some are then landfilled, we will run this same risk.


Pete Pasterz
Michigan State University



>>> "Chris Greene" <crgreene@med.umich.edu> 10/27/00 08:11AM >>>
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Enviro-Mich message from "Chris Greene" <crgreene@med.umich.edu>
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A question from someone not-in-the-know in this subject:

With the recent discussions about Toronto waste coming to Michigan, I have to wonder, What are we supposed to do with garbage?  
And why don't we make people keep it in their backyards?  They would surely start recycling and composting more.

These people have to dispose of their garbage somewhere, what does Mother Eath care if it is on the north side of the Great Lakes or the south side?  Is there some reason that dumping garbage in Michigan hurts the environment more than disposal elsewhere?

Chris "Greenbean" Greene



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