National Geographic : 1978 Nov
Two men look at sanitary landfill. One sees a mess, the other a "Landfills are community asset. Who's right? Americans throw out some 500 noisy" imessy" million tons of "junk" yearly. 1 Paper, plastic, glass, garbage. Disposal is a colossal problem. Hauling it off can increase traffic to disposal grounds. Heavy equip ment working the sites is some times noisy. Occasionally, there are odors. Often the land is torn up as modern operators trench and bury wastes. True, sites are con verted later to another use, but critics say that sometimes takes years. Proponents ask "What's the al ternative?" If left to accumulate, waste would bury us. Burning pol Slutes, leaves a residue to get rid of. Open dumping is outlawed. A well planned landfill project spreads out trash in thin layers, compacts and covers it daily with soil, discouraging flies, vermin, lingering odors. Many are land scaped, have become parks, golf courses, and civic development sites. True, sanitary landfills are a tidy answer to a growing problem. But we need other solutions to waste disposal, too. We should re cycle more materials, recover metals, reuse glass, look for ways to extract chemicals, burn other wise valueless wastes for fuel. Right now reclamation isn't working well. There are problems of economy, difficulties finding markets for reclaimed products. But several pilot plants are in operation. Answers are being sought. Sanitary landfill breaches the gap, taking care of today's wastes, giving us leeway to per fect more efficient reclamation. Caterpillar makes machines used in sanitary landfill. We think efficient waste management is important to the health and beauty of our land. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpillar, Cat and0 are Trademarksof Caterpillar Tractor Co.