When we throw something away, where does it go? And how much does personal consumption affect other people?
Trashed, released in 2012, is a documentary that focuses on the big picture and the environmental hazards from an over-wasted population. I got the opportunity to see a free screening of the documentary Trashed and it brought up a lot of concerns regarding the U.S and the way we hide waste, thus making us an extremely careless society.
In the U.S., we dig a big hole, put in a fancy liner to prevent leakage, and then fill the hole with garbage. After that mound of garbage gets too big we cover the garbage with dirt and grass to make it look more natural. This in turn, creates an illusion that our garbage just disappears. I would not say that it causes us to consume more, but I think it definitely causes us to care less.
We are fortunate enough to live in a country with education and resources that could help us reduce the amount of garbage we generate, but instead we have an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude. In the film I learned that landfills often have toxic chemicals such as leachate, benzene, pesticides, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. Although landfills are lined to prevent leakage, the liner will eventually breakdown, tear, or crack. In other research, I learned that 33% of women who live close to landfills have children with birth defects.
Landfills are not the only way to dispose of garbage; in many other countries incinerators are used. Incinerators have more harmful side effects than landfills. They emit toxic dioxins, mercury, and other chemicals. In the film, the people who lived in the East, specifically France and Vietnam were severely affected by incinerators. Many of the farms in France were shown ruined by the toxic dioxins of incinerators. Plants and cattle died, meat and dairy were ruined, and people got sick. In Vietnam, children were severely affected by the dioxins, leaving many of them mentally and physically disabled. It really made me think about consumption and waste in a whole new way, and how everything we do affects everything around us.
Trashed was a great film that exposed the truth of trash, and that's the current problem.......now how do we deal with future?
Eboni Haynes is an Environmental Education Associate at the iRecycle@School Education Center.