The nation’s health is declining due to the sheer amount of waste produced in America each year. According to Columbia University, each U.S citizen throws away seven pounds of trash per day, equating to 2,555 pounds per person each year. But, it’s what’s happening to this waste that’s the real issue. With 90% of it either being burned or left to rot on landfill sites, illnesses such as asthma are worsening due to the air pollution created from such waste.
According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, the biggest risk of landfill sites is to those who live within 5 kilometers of them. Most commonly, respiratory symptoms are witnessed in those living close by, with research finding the inhalation of endotoxin, microorganisms, and aerosols from waste collection and landfill sites to be the cause. Furthermore, one study revealed the link between hydrogen sulphide, one of the most common gases produced by landfills, and hospitalization or death from lung cancer and other serious respiratory diseases.
In the Water
Pennsylvania ranks second among the states which produce the most amount of waste, with 35.4 tons of trash per citizen. Not only does the state produce a lot of trash, but it imports it in too. As a result, their water supply has the highest levels of toxic compounds of any public water system in America. These toxins have made their way into Pennsylvania’s water supply following the disposal of non-stick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food packaging being disposedof . The Pocono Record states that these contaminants have resulted in cases of pancreatic cancer, as well as health conditions in young children. Meanwhile, more than 35,000 lives are lost annually to cancer and lower respiratory diseases.
Tackling the Waste
According to the EPA, 80% of compound exposure comes from consumer products found in the home. Therefore, removing these products from your home is essential. One dumpster service available in Phoenixville states they strive ‘to keep our environment clean and recycle whatever we can.’ And, other cities and states are taking significant action, too. In Indiana, where the CDC states that lower respiratory diseases account for 4,214 deaths a year, 39 sites have been flagged on the Environmental Protection Agencies list of locations set to receive funding to cover the cleanup operation. Meanwhile, San Francisco has been cited as a global leader in waste management. This is because they prevent more than 80% of their waste from sitting in landfills by making it compulsory for businesses and homes to recycle, banning plastic bags and charging businesses for the amount of waste they create. As a result, the health of the nation has benefited as San Francisco comes in at number one in Men’s Health Magazine’s least cancer prone U.S city.
The amount of waste produced by America is huge, however, some states and cities are handling it better than others. The health implications associated with poor waste management are poignant, therefore, the country must do everything in its power to diminish the waste it produces.