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Municipal Solid Waste

1) Review the history of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).

2) Describe an open dump and explain the environmental problems.

3) Describe an early landfill. What are the problems associated with early landfills? Include a discussion of leachate, methane, incomplete decomposition and settling.

4) Describe a modern landfill. What are the differences as compared to early landfills? What improvements have been made?

5) In reference to Puente Hills, California's landfill explain the innovations being implemented to make the landfill more productive and to reduce its environmental impact

6) Given that the current 2 primary sources of electricity generation are coal and nuclear power plants, which of these sources is better for human sustainability? Why?

Solution Preview

1) Municipal solid waste or MSW as it is most commonly known is what we generally address as garbage or trash. It consists of food scraps, plastics, paper, batteries, electronic items and other throw away items. It is very important to process the garbage that we keep dumping. MSW as the name suggests is government run and regulated. Proper processing of MSW reduces pollution and generates electricity.

2) An open dump is as the name suggests throwing garbage in the open in large quantities. It could be in an unused backyard, a dried up swimming pool or an abandoned field. Open dumps have environmental hazards such as:
1. Spread of diseases like ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses MSW and the impacts of unorganised dumping of waste on the environment. It also discusses the Puente hills landfill in California and how the landfill has been made productive. A brief solution is also given on which source of electricity generation is better, coal or nuclear.