Garbage is a big problem in our society because people are creating
too much of it. Electricity is a main priority in our everyday lives
and the demand for electricity is becoming greater than the supply.
If trash could be used to create energy it would solve two problems at
There are many problems caused by pollution. There are many different
types of pollution. Some of them are water, air, and soil.
Air pollution from burning trash can be highly bad for lungs.
The trench burner, air curtain destroyer, or tree-burning machine is a
very deadly source of air pollution. In one hour this machine can
burn 20 tons of trees and wood waste. This machine reduces visible
smoke as it sends huge amounts of minute particles into the air.
At Anthony Homes, in Macon, Georgia a trench burner was used in a children's
playground. At that time many asthma attacks and headaches were reported
from residents. When the trenchburner stopped, the headaches and
asthma attacks stopped. A female resident of the area died a few
weeks later from a heart attack.
DANGERS OF BURNING GARBAGE
There are many dangers from burning garbage. Much of today's
trash contains plastic, heavy metals, and a variety of synthetic materials.
When burned, chemical reactions occur and poisons are released into the
air. The amount of toxins released is based on the temperature of
the fire, the contents of the trash being burned, and the supply of oxygen.
From burning trash in wood stoves a healthy person can suffer from burning
eyes, headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and more. Because children
have smaller bodies, they have a much greater risk than adults do.
Children inhale more air making it easier for them to absorb larger doses
of toxins. It only takes five ounces of poly vinyl chloride to give
off enough hydrogen chloride gas to kill anyone in an average size bedroom
in ten minutes. Even if you don't suffer immediate reactions, over
a period of time it can become deadly. Diseases like bronchitis, emphysema,
and most cancer can take up to twenty years to affect a person, and can
be caused by very low exposures to smoke and toxin. A much safer
way to get rid of unwanted trash is to send it to a municipal incinerator.
How safe are the exhaust gases created from incinerators?
Should the burned trash be classified as "recycled" materials? These are
the two main controversial issues involving incinerators. In the
year 2000 there was an effort to meet the 50% recycling goal. Because
of this, some state legislators tried to classify burned trash as recycled
material. Since burned paper is not turned into new products environmental
groups argue over this concept.
A furnace super heats water to produce high pressure and spin a turbine.
The turbine turns a large generator to generate ten megawatts of electricity.
Waste, ash, and exhaust gases are the final products from the burning of
refuse. The waste ash is added as a roadbed in cement. The exhaust
gases and water vapor leave the smokestack. The city of commerce
trash only charges 35 cents per ton because it was part of the agreement
for building the incinerator. The electricity is sold at the local utility
company. About 60-70% of the revenue comes in from selling electricity
. Nearly 40% of the plant was built to generate electricity and the
other 60% was built to improve air quality.
A large incinerator was built in 1986. The Sanitation District
of Los Angeles County operates it. This particular incinerator can
burn up to four hundred tons of trash per day, and can produce to ten megawatts
of electricity, which is enough to provide 20,000 homes with electricity
for a day.
Incinerators are a method of waste disposal. Incineration reduces
the volume of waste by about 90%. A drawback of incineration is the
threat of air pollution and the problem of the disposal of the residue.
Today's waste contains many synthetic and plastic materials.
These items can produce, when burned, toxic pollutants like dioxin, arsenic,
lead, and mercury. Studies show that each pound of garbage burned
creates 40 more types of particles than if you would have burned it in
a municipal incinerator or a high temperature commercial. These kinds
of incinerators burn trash at high temperatures, over 1800 degrees, dissolving
most of the dangerous compounds. A less polluting way to get rid
of trash is to recycle it.
All living creatures have to create and consume energy in order to
survive. There is a struggle transforming natural energy into useful
forms. This has changed civilization. Over 500,000 years ago
fire was discovered which set humans above all other animals.
The capacity to do work is called energy. Energy is not created
nor destroyed, just transformed. Thermal energy is the energy inside
an object. A calorimeter is an instrument used to measure thermal
energy in a substance.
A calorimeter is a container with two chambers. Inside the inner
chamber something is burned to create thermal energy. The outer chamber
is filled with water. Heat flows from the heating inner chamber to
the cooler water. There is a thermometer in the water that shows
the rise in temperature that occurs from the heat transfer. The matter
around an object absorbs the energy released by the object. Energy
lost equals energy gained is how a calorimeter works. The outer wall
of a calorimeter must be insulated to prevent transferring any heat to
the air around it. This still lets some of the heat transfer to the
air on the outside. The amount of heat that was absorbed by the water
in the outer chamber can be calculated by multiplying the mass of water
by the change in temperature. This answer is then multiplied by the
specific heat of the water.
Electricity is needed by our society. Lately, people have been
using more electricity than the supply. Garbage is also becoming
a problem in our society, but for the opposite reason. People have been
creating too much of it. If trash could be used to create energy it would
solve two problems at once.
Back to Top