Right in our own Backyard

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 12:43 AM

Over the course of the last few months, I have been exposed to various different aspects of water pollution, specifically river pollution, the effects thereof along with the causes. But it is a whole different story when the issue comes right to your own door-step. It becomes personal then.
Recycling and garbage has been a growing hot issue all around us and there has been a growing movement towards consciousness of these issues so vital to preserving the balance of our delicate ecosystems. Waste management, then, has profound impact on this topic. So, it was fascinating to recently learn of the ongoing debate and litigation over the import of Hawaii's garbage to the landfills in the Northwest. According to this report, the contract to export Hawaii's garbage to the landfills around here in Northwest is being discussed. As the article states, this will entail "...shipping up to 150,000 tons a year of its mounting garbage -- potentially intermixed with invasive plant seeds and insects -- more than 2,500 miles to Astoria, then up the Columbia River to Longview, then offloading to rail or truck for a ride through the Columbia River Gorge, and then on to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Washington's Klickitat County."
Can you imagine the impact this can potentially have on the sanctity of our water resources? As this blog points out the potential side-effects of landfills on the water systems around them and add to that the transportation of that huge an amount of garbage along the rivers. It is easy to comprehend the dangers and possible concerns we are dealing with here.  As the website highlights: "
The atmosphere often takes a hit when it comes to landfill gases, but water is also a very real risk. The initial problem is with watercourses. This includes everything from the ditches located near the landfill to the rivers and streams miles away. The rain will wash over the landfill, allowing debris, but more commonly toxins, to wash into these watercourses.
In addition, water emissions may happen at a much lower level. If groundwater is polluted at a landfill site, the water can penetrate into the strata below the surface of the Earth, polluting some of the most important sources of fresh water."
So it is personal this time. The issue regarding how garbage can effect our water sources and the balance of nature around us does make one sit up and take notice of what exactly is going on right in our own backyard.

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