Pro Incineration Canadians generate about 31 million tones of garbage a year where about 80% of the municipal and industrial solid waste is disposed of by land filling processes . Recycling and resource recovery is a great way to reduce garbage but inevitably there will be solid waste that has to be dealt with. There are two possible solution; landfills and incineration. However, after researching and analyzing of both solutions, I believe that incineration has the ability to provide more advantages while protecting our environment and is the better choice when the solid waste has to be burned.
Solid waste incineration involves burning waste at high temperature inside a specially engineered and purpose-built incinerator. An incinerator is designed to burn waste at a much higher temperature than a simple burning pit. Also, it is designed and operated to achieve carefully controlled burning, thus the temperature is kept constant, air flow to the furnace regulated, and waste fed to the incinerator is kept steady. There are several advantages to incineration compared to landfills. First of all, incineration can reduce the volume of waste, up to 90% and the weight of the waste by up to 60%.
This is very important because it diverts waste from landfills, and thus reduces the landfill space. Landfill space is a big issue in the city of Toronto since there is not much space in landfills to be utilized . Solid waste has to be transported to places like Michigan, thus incineration would also reduce transportation needs which ultimately reduces energy and C02 gas emissions. In addition to reducing volume, and transport needs, incinerator when properly equipped can convert water into steam to fuel heating systems or generate electricity.
Therefore, electricity produced from waste can be supplied to houses or buildings in the nearby community. Another advantage incineration has over landfills, is that both hazardous and non- hazardous waste can be mixed together and handled in the incinerator, thus removing the need to separate the hazardous waste from the non-hazardous waste. A major concern with landfills is that they produce methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas. Landfills sites account for about 38% of Canada’s total methane emissions. The landfills also produce Co2, among other potential toxic components such as CO, NH3 and H2S, thus polluting our environment.
Incinerators, on the other hand, have air pollution control equipment is incorporated into an incinerator facility. This equipment removes harmful contaminants from the exhaust gases and filters out particulate matter before allowing them to vent up the facility’s stack to the atmosphere. Some examples of preventing harmful emissions is using technologies such as wet and dry scrubbers, Baghouses and Electrostatic Precipitators. Incineration is viable option for the City of Toronto and the city council should consider this as a serious alternative to landfills.
As stated above, there are several advantages to incinerations and if we concentrate on improving technologies that minimize air pollutant emissions, we will be able to maintain a preferable status over landfilling. The need to control and reduce solid waste is high, and recycling and reusing is a great way to help reduce the amount of solid waste that eventually has to be burned off. However, since solid waste is inevitable it is better to burn it in a controlled incinerator environment than to let the garbage accumulated in landfills and emitted global warming gas such as methane.