Land Pollution: Obtaining
and using certain energy resources -- fossil fuels and nuclear
energy can pollute the land.
Coal and other minerals: To
obtain coal, the land is destroyed.
- Strip mining
gouges out the surface of the land. (It scars the land)
- Fertile top-soil is
buried under rocks.
- When rocks are exposed
to precipitation, acids are washed away.
- These acids seep
into the ground also polluting the land and soil.
Any discarded material that causes death or serious harm to
- Produced when
factories discard or release toxic (poisonous) chemicals.
- Toxic wastes are
stored in barrels and buried in dumps. These barrels can leak over
time, releasing toxic chemicals into the land.
- Try to produce less of
them by reusing some wastes.
- Chemically treat the
material - sometimes adding some chemicals or water can neutralize or
weaken them. - The problem with this is that this is expensive.
They are the discarded material from making energy in a nuclear power
- Most threatening
form of land pollution
- Classified into two
types depending on their half-life.
- Half-life is
the time it takes for half of the material to decay (become
non-radioactive or harmful). We look at half-lives because radioactive
material are never completely gone.
radioactive wastes: They are mostly the used fuel rods of
a nuclear reactor.
- They have long
half-lives about 10,000 years or more.
impossible to safely discard.
- They use to
bury them in concrete or glass containers and then bury them.
They would eventually corrode and leak, allowing radioactive
wastes to escape and pollute the land.
- These wastes
can cause cancer and other serious illnesses
radioactive wastes: These are the contaminated clothing
or equipment used by power-plant workers.
- They have
short half-lives. They decay quickly.
- They are not
usually a problem to discard safely.
Scientists suggest alternatives to burying:
- Bury deep within the
earth (into magma)
- Bury deep on the ocean
- Shoot it up in rockets
to the sun
- All of these methods
are extremely costly and prohibitive - we must find alternatives
Solid Wastes: Any
useless, unwanted, discarded materials. (Garbage)
- There are many sources
of solid wastes:
Waste materials from farming.
garbage from homes
Industrial/commercial: garbage from factories or businesses
- This includes bottles,
newspapers, packaging, food, rubbers etc.
- We cart them away and
put them in dumps or sanitary landfills:
garbage is just piles in a secluded spot. There are many problems
with dumps; rats, bacteria, smell, dangerous gases and it oozes into
the soil. This is not used today!
landfills: garbage is compacted, then covered with
a layer of topsoil and planted with grass. No
hazardous wastes are allowed. When they are filled they can be used
as parks or other recreational area. Many places use sanitary
landfills to discard their garbage.
- Problems with
chemicals ooze out through leaks in containers.
- When garbage
decomposes, dangerous methane gas is produced. It is
poisonous and a fire hazard. Can be solved by installing a gas
- We can't find
places to put them. Nobody wants them in their neighborhood.
- Alternatives to
- Ocean Dumping:
the problem is we pollute our waters
The problem is we pollute the air
This is the best solution (considered the solid waste solution of
the future, however not everything is recyclable and not many people