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Landfill gas and leachate
Leachate and landfill gas comprise the major hazards associated with a landfill. While leachate may contaminate the surrounding land and water, landfill gas can be toxic and lead to global warming and explosion leading to human catastrophe (Phelps, 1995). (Note that global warming, also known as greenhouse effect, refers to the warming of the earth's atmosphere by the accumulation of gases (e.g., methane, carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons) that absorbs reflected solar radiation.
Nature of waste: The deposition of waste containing biodegradable matter invariably leads to the production of gas and leachate, and the amount depends on the content of biodegradable material in the waste.
Moisture content: Most micro-organisms require a minimum of approximately 12% (by weight) moisture for growth, and thus the moisture content of landfill waste is an important factor in determining the amount and extent of leachate and gas production.
pH: The methanogenic bacteria within a landfill produce methane gas, which will grow only at low pH range around neutrality.
Particle size and density: The size of waste particle affects the density that can be achieved upon compaction and affects the surface area and hence volume. Both affect moisture absorption and therefore are potential for biological degradation.
Temperature: An increase in temperature tends to increase gas production. The temperature affects the microbial activity to the extent that it is possible to segregate bacteria, according to their optimum temperature operating conditions.
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