a’s Wonderland are marching up and down the road with signs and noble voices: “Down with Grier!”, “Say no to Proposition 36!”, “Children’s Futures!”,
“36 makes us Sick!” What are these people yelling about? Raising taxes? Higher Unemployment? No,
these people’s pleas are about a simpler, yet harder to combat problem. Garbage. Ruth Grier wants to put
a dump here, and the people won’t stand for it. And with good cause! Living near a dump makes thing
infinitely more difficult, or at least unpleasant. But what else can the government do? There aren’t any
more acceptable ways to get rid of access garbage. Also, people are creating more garbage than at any
point in all of history! This essay will prove that people are creating garbage faster than we can dispose of
Years ago garbage wasn’t anyone’s concern. There was plenty of land to ship trash to, and if
somehow you ran out of places to put it, you could burn it, or put it in the sewers, or put it in closed mines,
or many other ways. No longer. The governments of the world are quickly running out of environmentally
sound ways to dispose of trash, and no one is coming up with usable new ideas. In Canada it seems like it
would be easy to dump garbage. Canada has low population density and lots of land ripe for dumping. But
what town is going to stand for being next to a dump? No one wants to live near one, and with good cause.
In a 1988-1992 study of one small town right next to a new dump, one a mile from the same dump, and one
far away from any dump, research found a number of things. A)The population, while the same at the
beginning of the survey, reduced to almost nothing in town #1, reduced very little in town #2, and increased
in town #3. B)The drinking water was very un!
healthy in town #1, just as bad in town #2, and normal in town #3. C)There was a huge infestation problem
in town #1, but none in any other town. D)The land values in town #1 were so bad many people simply left
without selling their homes, turning it into a virtual ghost town. Again there was no problem in the other
towns. And finally E)Towns #1 and #2 tended to have more sick people than the control, #3 (Wenton 2-4).
As one can see by this survey, living in a town near a dump is a major problem. But the more serious
repercussions are part B and E. While people are very careful to try to contain dumps from the bottom so
that toxins don’t escape, the chemicals were proven to have gotten into the ground water, and then into
people’s homes as far as a mile away. The government thought they had found the perfect plan for
dumping in Kirkland Lake, but even that idea fell through. People just can’t dump garbage anymore it
seems. But what else to do with it? The governmen!
t can’t ship it to other countries, they all have the same problem no matter what the country. They can’t
burn it, it causes more pollution problems in the air than in dumps! If they put it in the sewage system it
will contaminate, and if they put it underground, it has serious geological reverberations. As the famous
comedian George Carlin said, “You just can’t throw way garbage in this town no more”.
Getting rid of garbage is even more complex and difficult when it is recognized that people are
creating more garbage nowadays than ever before. In the past, people threw out very little. People would
have a small pile of garbage that would fit in a paper bag for the entire family for a whole month (IWRP 1),
unlike our piles of garbage weekly. People aren’t reusing our garbage enough, even with programs like
recycling. Of Canadian garbage, 20.1% is yard wastes, and 8.9% is food wastes, both of which can be
composted, reducing our garbage by almost 30%! Then there’s the 8.4% of glass, 8.9% of metals and 7.3%
of plastic, all of which is recyclable, for another 25%. And finally there’s paper or paperboard, which takes
up a phenomenal 35.6% of garbage, all recyclable. That’s a total of 90% of our garbage that’s reusable, but
is thrown out!!! Also, the remaining 10%, aside from the chemicals and the like, consists of wood, leather,
rubber and textiles, which is often reus!
able by other people (Glad). “One man’s garbage is another man’s gold” indeed. The benefits of this
recycling would be huge. For each ton of newspaper recycles, 19 whole trees are saved (Robinson 20B)!
Recycling an aluminum can will save enough energy to run a television for three hours (Pigg A3)! One ton
of waste material recycled saves three cubic yards of landfill space (Pittaway C2). But people continue to
throw out this material despite the benefits, and at a sky-high rate! Each person in Canada throws out an
average of 1.7 kg of garbage per day. The annual garbage created by two average families, if squeezed into
garbage cans, would be almost as high as the CN tower, 554 meters tall (Ministry of the Environment 2).
Of course, a large part of the problem is that a lot of the products people bring into their home are, quite
simply, garbage. Think about all those little Snickers bars O.D.S.S. sold. There was a large box, inside of
which there were twenty medium b!
oxes, each of which was filled with about twenty individually wrapped chocolates. Most of what people
buy is packaged like this, for one reason, as quoted by the ex-buyer for Boots: “Shelf Space. That’s the
reason. If our product is bigger from more packaging then we no one else gets the space we take up. Plus
there’s the bonus that people see the product and assume they’re getting more for their buck by buying this
bigger product” (Wright). Consumers become so used to seeing items over-wrapped that they start to
assume it’s necessary. Many other products have similar problems. It all boils down to that we are making
and tossing far to much garbage.
Garbage. It seems it’s hard to get rid of it, and people are throwing it out like there’s no tomorrow
(which there might not be if we keep throwing this much out). So does this mean garbage is going to be the
death of Earth? That it’s a problem that won’t go away? That the next generation will all live in garbage
filled towns, that they will have to wear gas masks and use water purifiers? Maybe not. What people need
to do is keep coming up with ideas for garbage disposal until they find one that works. People also need to
watch our garbage flow, but with some creativity they can reduce our garbage dramatically. But for now,
people are creating garbage faster than we can dispose of it.