Posts Tagged ‘incineration’

Burning trash makes troops sick

Friday, August 6, 2010

U.S. military bases in Afghanistan (the site of that war to the right of Iraq, just past Iran) generate a lot of trash—tons in fact. That trash is burned and generates a lot of smoke which is making U.S. service men and women as well as military rent-a-soldiers from big outsourcing companies ill. Those soldiers are now suing. The Washington Post reports:

In a lawsuit in federal court in Maryland, 241 people from 42 states are suing Houston-based contractor Kellogg Brown & Root, which has operated more than two dozen so-called burn pits in the two countries. The burn pits were used to dispose of plastic water bottles, Styrofoam food containers, mangled bits of metal, paint, solvent, medical waste, even dead animals. The garbage was tossed in, doused with fuel and set on fire.

For more details, such as lovely descriptions of the stuff the affected soldiers have been coughing up and other side effects of toxic exposure, click here. Be sure also to click through the haunting photo timeline beginning way back in 2001 and full of haunting images and once-familiar faces like Rummy and Powell.

via Newser

To bury or to burn?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Experts weigh in over at the blog Room for Debate on whether the US should burn or bury its trash.

Beijing to have trash crisis in next decade

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

China Daily and China Radio International both report today that Beijing will soon be void of space for trash from the 20 million people living in the Capital of the world’s most populous country.  With an annual trash growth rate of 8%, landfills (i.e. Beijing’s main method of taking care of trash) are about to overflow, and disposal plants are already overworked.

As Beijing doesn’t have much space for new landfill, nor much time to establish new landfills, city officials have stated that they are considering incineration, a method highly unpopular among the public, who fear more pollution in an already terribly polluted city. (Illustrative pic can be found here, the real nerds should check out this twitter feed.)

The local government is trying to argue that incineration isn’t necessary a big polluter. Clearly, there are advantages of emissions from incineration facilities over toxic gas generated by landfills, but then again, science is always an argument. (A good account of the debate can be found in this wiki post.) What is of course more disheartening is that the Beijing government, similar to governments everywhere, seem to care less about figuring out how people in Beijing could generate less trash to begin with. 8% growth per year is no joke.

Swedish trash schizophrenia

Friday, November 21, 2008


Victor, our man in Stockholm, just sent me this troubling story from Swedish National Public Radio.  Apparently the trash incineration biz in Sweden is outpacing waste production by Swedes.  They’ve built so many new facilities that trash must now be imported from other European countries just to meet the demand to burn it up: 600,000 tons in the last year alone.

As you may recall from this book recommendation earlier this month, Sweden also exports electronic waste to Ghana—one kind of trash in, another out.  Aside from burning trash not being the best for the environment, all that waste hauling must be taking up shitloads of energy.  With two tips in one month, I’m upgrading Victor to Eurotipster Extraordinaire and look forward to more strange garbage news otherwise hidden from the non-Swedish-speaking world.

Photo of Japanese incinerator ripped from the Global Environment Centre Foundation.

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