Friday, October 25, 2019

Landfills :: essays research papers fc

It has long been believed that the largest entity brought upon the Earth by humankind is the Pyramid of the Sun, constructed in Mexico around the start of the Christian era. The mammoth structure commands nearly thirty million cubic feet of space. In contrast, however, is the Durham Road Landfill, outside San Francisco, which occupies over seventy million cubic feet of the biosphere. It is a sad monument, indeed, to the excesses of modern society [Gore 151]. One might assume such a monstrous mound of garbage is the largest thing ever produced by human hands. Unhappily, this is not the case. The Fresh Kills Landfill, located on Staten Island, is the largest landfill in the world. It sports an elevation of 155 feet, an estimated mass of 100 million tons, and a volume of 2.9 billion cubic feet. In total acreage, it is equal to 16,000 baseball diamonds [Miller 526]. By the year 2005, when the landfill is projected to close, its elevation will reach 505 feet above sea level, making it the highest point along the Eastern Seaboard, Florida to Maine. At that height, the mound will constitute a hazard to air traffic at Newark airport [Rathje 3-4]. Fresh Kills (Kills is from the Dutch word for creek) was originally a tidal marsh. In 1948, New York City planner Robert Moses developed a highly praised project to deposit municipal garbage in the swamp until the level of the land was above sea level. A study of the area predicted the marsh would be filled by the year 1968. He then planned to develop the area, building houses and attracting light industry. Mayor Impelliteri issued a report titled "The Fresh Kills Landfill Project" in 1951. The report stated, in part, that the enterprise "cannot fail to affect constructively a wide area around it." The report ended by stating, "It is at once practical and idealistic" [Rathje 4]. One must appreciate the irony in the fact that Robert Moses was, in his day, considered a leading conservationist. His major accomplishments include asphalt parking lots throughout the New York metro area, paved roads in and out of city parks, and development of Jones Beach, now the most polluted, dirty, overcrowded piece of shoreline in the Northeast. In Stewart Udall's book The Quiet Crisis, the former Secretary of the Interior lavishes praise on Moses. The JFK cabinet member calls Jones Beach "an imaginative solution ... (the) supreme answer to the ever-present problems of overcrowding" [Udall 163-4]. JFK's introduction to the book provides this foreboding passage: "Each generation must deal anew with the raiders, with the scramble to use public resources for private profit, and

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