In the last ten years, there have been more deaths within a five-mile radius of my home than deaths in the nearest city. The nearest city has over 4,000 people.
The tiny country Community I live in has been hit with many losses. Many young people have died from cancer. Three people, within a quarter mile of each other, have died from cancer in two years. In the last week, another person has died (not from cancer). I live in a farming community; many of these people are in perfect shape and exercise daily. Those who have died from cancer have been between the ages of 30 to 65. Cancer isn’t the only disease spreading in my community.
Some locals call where I live ‘cancer alley’. This ‘cancer alley’ has been happening for over 50 years. The locals speculate that something is causing these deaths. My family has had discussions about what could be spreading cancer and other deadly diseases within the community.
|The river that runs through the small community.|
The assumption was later trumped by another, more noticeable, probable cause. The small community I live in has one very noticeable feature that towers over everything. Everyone can see the feature for miles and in the last ten years, the feature has doubled in size.
We have a Landfill. The landfill is different from other landfills because it contains waste from factories that have drained chemical substances into a nearby lake. Today, I wouldn’t suggest swimming in the green-colored water of the lake without precaution. The harmful chemical waste is being taken out of the lake and brought to the landfill, two miles down the road.
The community and surrounding communities’ trash is brought to the landfill every day. Burying the trash has several risk factors that many don’t know. Buried trash has a potential to pollute the groundwater and soil.
The water at home has a strange taste and can sometimes change color. Some of my neighbors have turned to buying bottled water. This only makes the problem worse as the plastic bottles are thrown out and dropped off at the landfill.
As trash decomposes, it releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The gases can contribute to climate change and affect the health of people and animals. If the animals get sick and we eat those animals, we too can become ill. Contaminated water could be given to the animals and people, contributing to the already decreasing health of the community.
There is no solid proof that the landfill is directly involved with the outbreak of cancer in my small community, but no one is investigating the problem. To say that the landfill has no part in the outbreak seems unlikely. The community has been ravished with cancer for too long. The young, that are otherwise healthy, are dying in clusters.
For a community that has a little over 150 people, it shouldn’t be losing so many within such a short period of time.
The run-off from the farms and the chemicals that are sprayed over the fields cannot be disregarded. Numerous situations have been questioned for being responsible for the crisis. Since chemicals have been sprayed on the farm fields, butterflies have all but disappeared.
There used to be so many butterflies that I couldn’t move outside without seeing one. Now, I’m lucky to see a handful of butterflies in a season.
Could the contamination from the landfill be seeping into the soil and air? What can happen if the water is contaminated by the trash within the landfill? Should the public be aware of the risks?
If the landfill and farms aren’t the cause for the increased cancer-related deaths and foul tasting water, what is?
A landfill is more than a potential threat to the environment; it’s an eye sore! Nothing about a landfill looks natural.
I started my art business to raise awareness to several issues including recycling. Find ways to reduce the amount of waste you have. Landfills are only getting bigger. The risks will only increase as we continue to add to the dump.
Recycled materials, which would’ve been thrown in the landfill, have been saved and used in my artwork. I hope to encourage others to be aware of issues like this and to make a difference.
What do you think should be done to reduce waste? How would you feel if your communities water was contaminated?