Toxic Waste Effects Essay

Canada and all of the developed countries in the world produce somekind of toxic waste(s). It doesn’t matter whether it’s a chocolate barwrapper or a canister of highly radioactive plutonium, they’re potentiallydangerous to us and/or our natural environment unless properly disposed of.

Toxic waste is defined as any waste that is hazardous to human healthor to our natural environment. According to the Institute of ChemicalWaste Management, about 15% of our garbage is classified as toxic, and only85% (approximately) of that is disposed of properly.

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The rest is eitherillegally dumped or accidentally mixed up with non-toxic garbage. That 15%may not seem like a lot, but when you consider the millions of tons oftoxic waste that we produce every year, that 15% is enormous. TheEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that we produce one ton oftoxic wastes for every single person living in Canada every year. Thatmeans that the 15% represents about 4.2 million tons of toxic waste.

Toxic wastes which are dumped in improper sites can seep intounderground water supplies and contaminate huge areas.

If the land that isintoxicated supports plant life, most of the plants and trees will die off.

If the area is lived on by humans, it could cause serious illness or death.

For example, an area by Niagara Falls (US side) was used during the 1930sby a chemical company to dump it’s wastes. Most of them were hazardous,and the containers that held the chemicals later (after the company hadgone out of business) began to leak. The chemicals spread for mileskilling off plants and causing cancers and deadly diseases in humans.

Included in these wastes was a chemical called dioxin… one ounce of itused under the right circumstances was enough to kill off everyone in One of the most popular places to dump toxic wastes is in the oceans.

People figured that the oceans were so huge that garbage would just”disappear”, and sink to the bottom. Well, they were wrong. Chemicalshave turned up in dead whale bodies and dead fish in high enoughconcentrations to kill people. Medical wastes such as used needles andvials of blood (some carrying the AIDS virus) have washed up along theAtlantic coast and in one of the Great Lakes. Mutated and disfigured fishas well as other water animals have washed up dead or been caught byfishermen. The list of stories goes on, and it’s still growing.

Canada and the USA have created laws and regulations to try to stop theillegal dumping of toxic wastes and the destruction of our environment. TheUS has created a multi-billion dollar fund called “SuperFund” to try andclean up areas that have been contaminated. Canada is also working alongthose lines. The government has made a prioritized list of recognisedhazardous dump sites, and is forcing the company that owns the land to payfor the clean-up of the area. If the company no longer exists, or theexact origin of the waste is unknown, the government will pay for the Some toxic wastes can actually been turned into something useful, or inother words ‘recycled’. For example, several kinds of metals can berecycled. Lead and silver (both are heavy metals, which are classified astoxic wastes) are both recycled and used again. About of the lead usedin the country is recycled, and about of the silver is recycled.

Other toxic wastes can be chemically ‘transformed’ into new products.

This is done by adding chemicals to the waste, which causes it to changeinto something new. Philadelphia and Chicago transform sewage sludge intofertilizer, which is put to use on farms.

A huge pile of toxic waste looms over Canada. This waste is not theproduct of some Natural disaster like a tidal wave or a hurricane. It is aman-made pile of deadly garbage that threatens our very existance. Who isresponsible for this pile? The answer, is ‘us’. We are the people who buythe cheap food which was grown with the help of chemical pestisides. Weare the people who demand the electricity created by the nuclear powerplants. We are our own worst enemies. Pogo, a comic strip character who Ilearned about last year in english once said… “We have met the enemy, andBibliography:

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