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Enviromental science
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Library Research Assignment
Background: Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is all of the garbage, refuse, trash or junk that gets thrown away from our homes or small businesses. All of this MSW is collected and taken away. Have you wondered where it goes? In the 1950’s and 60’s it went to open dumps. In the 1970’s landfills were established but there were problems, and today there is new legislation and technology to better manage this waste.

For this assignment, you will review the history of MSW.
Describe an open dump. Explain the environmental problems.
Describe an early landfill. What are the problems associated with early landfills? Include a discussion of leachate, methane, incomplete decomposition and settling.
Describe a modern landfill. What are the differences as compared to early landfills? What improvements have been made?
Choose one of these landfills and explain the innovations being implemented to make the landfill more productive and to reduce its environmental impact:
o Mariannhill Landfill, South Africa
o Puente Hills, California
o Altamont Landfill, CA
o Tessman Road Landfill, TX
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As an environmentalist, you are very interested in how economics plays a role in determining how many and what type of environmental laws are passed. There are many environmental laws that are determined by economic conditions.
Choose 1 environmental law to research and give a detailed description of the law including the following:
The date the law was passed
Describe the law; what are the provisions of the law?
Background information: What initiated the law? Why was it passed?
What economic impact was generated by the law? What kinds of costs, fines, or economic benefits are associated with the law? Provide economic data to support this.
Do you feel that this particular environmental law has improved the environment/situation? Why or why not?

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