Environment impact of landfills in Tallahassee

In humid and temperate countries such as Europe, the evolution of landfills is guided by significant microbiological activity. This, like any microbiological process, is directly dependent on the water content of the landfill. In countries with a drier climate, the humidity rate in the landfill is a very important parameter that will condition the type of evolution of the landfill.

It is essentially defined by climatic conditions and local hydrogeology as in Tallahassee. For example, in Africa, six climatic zones are defined in particular on the basis of the rainfall regime: rainfall and distribution over the year. This may cause some particularly large countries to be globally divided into two or more climatic zones with their own landfill management requirements.

Cities located in desert (II) and Sahelian (III) climatic zones have neither water reserves nor ground humidity. A few cities located far north of the tropical zone with a long dry season (IV) such as Dakar, Ouagadougou and Segou are almost in the same situation. It is expected that no microbiological degradation of waste from landfills located in this way will be observed.

Like in Florida, the humidity brought by the waste evaporates quickly and the rains cannot possibly ensure this type of activity. Only physicochemical degradation could be observed. Such a landfill, far from being a bioreactor, would rather be a place of fossilization of organic waste by desiccation. However, it is essential to determine whether during storms, percolation and hypodermic flow water has time to reach the water table.

On the other hand, the majority of cities located in the humid tropical (V) and equatorial (VI) climatic zone present water balances apparently favorable to a biological evolution of landfills. In addition, the periods of soil humidity are usually long (7 to 10 months). Biomethanation should be easily observed there.

In these same climatic zones, however, there are cities such as Cotonou (zone VI), located in West Africa, which present an intermediate situation similar to several cities in the tropical zone with a long dry season (IV). A soil humidity rate of 50 to 80% is observed there over a short period (2 to 5 months). The type of evolution of landfills subjected to these conditions is not very predictable.

Such an intermediate situation also seems to exist in the Mediterranean zone (I), for example in Tunis. Consequently, each station, in the Mediterranean zone or in a tropical zone with a long dry season, will have to be examined on a case-by-case basis according to soil humidity, climatological data (such as wind speed, drought factor), starting humidity of the waste.

The presence of leachate and biogas must be taken into account in order to classify the landfill objectively. For bringing junk to Tallahassee landfills help reduce the problem. Indeed, the investigations carried out on four landfills in Tunisia and Haiti show that, despite the dryness of the soil and a negative water balance (low or poorly distributed rainfall and lower by a factor of two to five than the potential evapotranspiration data), the interior of the landfill remains sufficiently humid to produce, even during the dry season, low quantities of biogas and little or no leachate.

We are faced with an intermediate discharge that we will call a crust. Rainfall and potential evapotranspiration data are therefore not sufficient to classify a landfill. When the waste arrives at the landfill, with a well-defined humidity, the water activity gradient is relatively high and allows microorganism activity. The water falling on the waste is then only slowly evapotranspired.

Due to the structure of the waste, a certain time is necessary for the evapotranspiration to be complete. During this time, water migrations may have fed the lower layers of waste to activate biodegradation. Similarly, the water that constitutes the waste can play this role. Therefore, only the waste on the surface and in contact with the ground dries out.

We are witnessing the formation of a dry crust around the edge of the mass of waste and a low or even non-existent production of leachate. Subsequently, this crust of dry waste prevents the exchange of water and oxygen between the inside of the landfill and the outside. Thus, the humidity of the waste is maintained within the mass and allows a certain methanogenesis accompanied by a slow but continuous production of biogas.

The management of Tallahassee landfills poses the problem of controlling the biogas that must be evacuated and of evaluating the lifespan of this landfill, which should evolve extremely slowly. In summary, the diversity of climatic and hydrogeological conditions leads us to consider three types of landfills depending on the humidity level present: the dry-fossilized landfill, the wet landfill, and the intermediate landfill.

The search for waste specifies, for Florida, the type of discharge that should be observed according to the climatic zones. However, it is obvious that this classification can easily be extended to other countries around the world. This is particularly the case in Talahassee where most of the existing landfills are either dry-fossilized or intermediate.

The Shame of Beach Pollution

Tons of litter on the beach: the images of shame. Waste on the beach has become a symbol of overconsumption. You can see in pictures the direct consequences of a hot day at the beach and this is disgusting! Such images are impressive and multiply in the general indifference. Tons of garbage accumulate on our beaches every day. There is no reason to be surprised that the ocean is dying from plastic pollution.

Garbage on the beach makes the coastal area repulsive. Exit sand, deckchairs, parasols and straw hats. The ingredients for a day at sea are very different. Cigarette butts, plastic and glass bottles, soda cans, single-use plastic bags … This is what is commonly found on our beaches. And not in small quantities! Waste on the beach is a shameful symbol of overconsumption.

For proof a video published on social networks last year showed the state of a North Sea beach in Blankenberge in Belgium, after a bit of a hot day, once all the tourists left: thousands of garbage sometimes deposited next to the full bins but often scattered on the beach. Taking measures against this kind of behavior is not obvious, if not conceivable, as people come on the beach to relax. And government officials want them to feel good. But in the meantime, while humans are enjoying the sun, the coastline doesn’t have much fun.

Welcome to the sea of waste! The problem obviously does not only concern Europe. In Bali for example, Green Peace has been denouncing figures that are chilling in the back for a few years. On Kuta beach, in 2018, about 100 tonnes of debris were collected, between the waste thrown by tourists, attracted by surfing in the archipelago, and the debris washed up on the beach from the ocean.

The authorities employ 700 cleaners and 35 dumpster trucks for this every day. And to clarify this problem does not come from people living in Kuta and around the beach. This cleaning up requires a massive waste management effort coordinated by the local authorities. The city had to order new roll-off dumpsters just to cope with the increased demand for large junk collection.

And for good reason, you can see in pictures the diver Rich Horner literally swimming in plastic. The consequences are obviously not only visual, and it is no longer possible to ignore the environmental issues. People thus recently discovered off Corsica a new island entirely made of plastic. Marine species are particularly threatened by pollution. As for us humans, we now know that we eat the equivalent of a plastic credit card every week in our food. Polluting the beach therefore makes this situation even less manageable.

Removing plastic pollution on beaches is a big challenge. There are ideas, but they come from independent initiatives. WWF stated that the Mediterranean Sea is the most polluted in the world with 600,000 tonnes of plastic waste discharged per year.

In May 2019, a competition was held to collect waste in the Marseille coastal area. Kayakers and divers participated in the operation and managed to recover 1.2 tonnes of waste. On the Belgian side, we are also looking to coordinate. The Governor of East Flanders explained for example that he had invited the burgomasters of the coastal municipalities to coordinate on this subject. Among the measures proposed: fines for polluting tourists