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The Municipal Solid Waste is commonly known as the trash or the garbage in the United States as well as the United Kingdom; it is also termed as refuse or rubbish in that matter. This consists of the type of wastes which consists of everyday matter which the public discards as a whole. In the United States, the system comprises of the regulatory, the administrative, the market, technology, and social subcomponents which are understood only through the context of historical evolution. It is wise to indicate that in the early 1800s most cities in America lacked organized public works for cleaning the streets, conducting refuse collection as well as the treatment of water which in fact lead to the formation of municipal solid waste industry. The Municipal solid waste industry comprised of the four functional elements namely the recycling, composting, land filling and finally wastes to energy via incineration.
An open dumpsite is described as the land disposal site of which the solid waste is disposed without any control and in a manner which is not conscious enough to protect the environment as a whole. This dumpsite is therefore vulnerable to open burning thus being exposed to the elements, disease vectors and some scavenges. These unplanned heaps of uncovered wastes, often burning and the surrounded polluted water which stands stagnant, causes great risks to the domestic animals, as well as the people in the nearby surroundings.
Scavenging activities are done on the dumpsites which, as a result, disrupt the better landfill operations. This in turn reduces the productivity by way of delaying waste compaction and the destruction of the soil cover. The flames from the scavenging activities done on the dumpsites pollute the environment. The land dumps also produce toxic gases and leach ate for a long period of time which complicates the environment negatively. It should also be noted that the waste which is found in the dump sites is both chemically and mechanically complex in nature (Jefferis, 1999).
With the need to curb these hazards and improve the sanitation and the environment as a whole, it has led to the construction of water treatment areas as well as the sewage works during the period commencing in the nineteenth century. However, this infrastructure was capital intensive and also, required the financing from the regional institutions. The subsequent lack of enough financing sources posed as a great challenge to the effective establishment of these plants.
However, there are some differences among the various landfills and the degree of isolation involved in it. The means of accomplishing and optimizing the landfill reactions is termed as leachate. The modification of the dumpsites which involved the use of modern landfills utilized the fumes generated from the waste and in turn used it to manufacture methane gas which is essential for serving domestic energy purposes. Incomplete decomposition refers to the inability of waste to decompose as a result of settlements and human scavenging activities. Incomplete decomposition may also be caused by the presence of non-biodegradable products which are manufactured by the industries (Michael, 1999). However, modern landfills have introduced the application of integrated technology which ensures that the dumpsites are fully harmless to the environment. This modernization of landfills also ensures maximum utilization of some of the by-products such as the gas fumes which are used to manufacture electricity. These fumes are also refined by technical means to produce methane gas which is in turn used for domestic energy purposes as well as in laboratory experiments. The difference between the modern landfills and the traditional ones is that the early landfills were only purposed for controlling the effects of environment hazards and pollution as a whole while the modern landfills incorporate technology to further utilize the waste produced into the manufacture of other useful by-products such as manure, methane gas and electricity generation (Cossu, 1999).for example, In the Puente Hills landfill which is situated in California ,there is the use of the ‘dry tomb’ mechanism whereby a hole is lined with waste and capped to prevent it from water infiltration. This also involves the placing of the wastes in complete isolation from the environment: anaerobic bioreactor. It also has the leachate collection system, the geo-membrane liners, final covers and the gas collection systems to ensure the sustainability of environmental activities. The environmental sustainability refers to activities which are geared towards ensuring the environment is sustainable enough to both the people as well as the creatures surrounding it while the real activities which are involved in arriving at this processes is basically the real sound science (Johannessen, 1999).
Landfills can be good to the environment if only good measures are put in place. It is a field which requires full support systems implemented by respective governments and investors. People are also advised to ensure that all wastes are dumped at the right places in order to avoid scavenging activities within the landfills.