ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF LANDFILL
The environmental effects of a landfill include wind-blown litter and dust, noise, obnoxious odour, vermin and insects attracted by the waste, surface runoff and inaesthetic conditions.
Wind-blown litter and dust are continuous problems of the ongoing landfill operation and a nuisance to the neighbourhood. Covering the waste cells with soil and spraying water on dirt roads and waste in dry periods, in combination with fencing and movable screens, may minimise the problem of wind-blown litter and dust. However, note that the problem will remain at the tipping front of the landfill.
(ii) Movement of waste collection vehicles, emptying of wastes from them,
compactors, earthmoving equipment, etc., produce noise. Improving the technical
capability of the equipment, surrounding the fill area with soil embankments and plantations, limiting the working hours and appropriately training the workforce will help minimise noise pollution.
(iii) Birds (e.g., scavengers), vermin, insects and animals are attracted to the landfill for
feeding and breeding. Since many of these may act as disease vectors, their presence is
a potential health problem.
(iv) Surface run-off, which has been in contact with the land filled waste, may be a problem in areas of intense rainfall. If not controlled, heavily polluted run-off may enter directly into creeks and streams.
(v) An operating landfill, where equipment and waste are exposed, appears inaesthetic. This problem may be reduced by careful design of screening soil embankments, plantings, rapid covering and re-vegetation of filled sections.
(vi) Gas released, as a result of degradation or volatilisation of waste components, causes odour, flammability, health problems and damage of the vegetation (due to oxygen depletion in the root zone). The measures to control this include liners, soil covers, passive venting or active extraction of gas for treatment before discharge into the atmosphere.
(vii) Polluted leachate appears shortly after disposal of the waste. This may cause groundwater pollution and pollution of stream s through sub-surface migration. Liners, drainage collection, treatment of leachate, and groundwater and downstream water quality monitoring are necessary to control this problem.
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