Dumps in the 21st Century. Really?

Dumps in the 21st Century. Really?
Posted on September 10, 2013 | Nick Vandergragt | Written on September 10, 2013
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

The inconsistency of the provincial governments position concerning green energy and technologies.

Man has been making garbage since he got kicked out of the garden. At first, it was no big deal. The refuse in those days was things like bones, broken wooden or stone tools, pottery and so on. As society began to gather into tribes, they would simply pitch the trash outside of camp and move on. Considering the available technology, this made sense. But as our ancestors got inventive about how to make life more comfortable, they began to produce more trash. As tribes of hunter gatherers gave way to rudimentary agriculture, camps turned into settlements, settlements into towns, and towns into cities. It became clear that something had to be done with the garbage. With few other options, they would dig a hole and toss the refuse of everyday life into it. Even at this point, the worlds population was small enough that in the greater scheme of things, this wasn't a problem. Although having rat infested holes full of rotting trash just outside the city gates did lend itself to the spread of some pretty nasty diseases. But that was then.

Today, the world is vastly different. Mankind numbers in the billions, and the things we create to make our way of life better now are either toxic, or are likely to become so if not handled properly. We spend huge heaps of treasure finding ways to mitigate the impact of garbage on our land, water and air. The part that simply boggles my mind is why in this day and age is this tolerated?

The government of Ontario has for the best part of a decade now, trumpeted it's desire to lead in the area of green technologies, especially on the energy front. They pour billions of tax payer dollars into solar farms and wind turbine projects to this end. Yet just about a week ago, this same government approved another stone age technology landfill site. The proponents will tell you that it will be constructed with the latest technology to prevent contamination of the surrounding environment, but that is like putting new tires on a 1970's pinto. You could do it, but why would you want too?

Today we have the ability to totally destroy our waste, while extracting much of the energy put into it's creation and converting that back into electricity. This has many benefits, but two of the greatest, is cheap, sustainable power and an end to the need for landfills. Europe has been doing exactly this for years now, and the municipality of Durham right here in Ontario is half way through the construction of a brand new energy from waste plant as I write this. It is time for our politicians of every stripe to stop playing games with waste management and for once, do the right thing. It is time not only to dump the dump, but to dump any politician that thinks a dump is a good idea in the first place.

About The Author

Nick at Night's picture

Born in Leamington Ontario.
Graduated high school 1980.
Canadian Navy from 1980 to 1989 as a marine engineering mechanic.

After being released from the CAF, a wide variety for jobs followed.... More


We need to evaluate the project on its scientific merits, specifically, whether the gaseous or solid wastes pose a risk to human health and the environment. Nothing wrong with that.

I agree, there's some great waste-to-energy technology solutions on the market now that Ottawa has not pursued, not yet anyway.

Thank you for sharing your letter!


Actually Ottawa has also made a deal with PLASCO who has been running a plant here for a while... Gasifying garbage... But I guess there the still scientific questions as to how much pollution still off-gasses in waste to energy vs what could be harvested from a landfill. I tend to lean that the Plasco plant would not be as bad as a bigger dump but other environmentalists (!) disagree and I know I want better-cleaner-straightforward data comparing the pros and cons.

The Plasco facility is a test facility and is not taking garbage from the City of Ottawa as of yet, because they haven't perfected the technology. Which is why the City granted Plasco an extension a couple weeks ago. A fully operational Plasco facility would be ideal, but whether or not it will ever happen still remains to be seen.

I know Greens don't support incineration. This is an issue I differ with them on. A solid comparison of data would be very helpful.

Thanks for the comment.