December 4, 2022

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What if we threw “garbage” into volcanoes? This is what science says

CORIGLIANO-ROSSANO – We are dealing with a historical waste emergency, at least in the regional arc of Gabrietide and in Corigliano Rossano. Recycling is less practiced and therefore the accumulation of rubbish in the streets increases. When there are large accumulations, it is difficult to get rid of them. Because waste, however, must be differentiated and not end up in landfills talcoal But all that careless part.

A clarification to be reckoned with, we are so used to the lack of waste culture that leads us to believe that nappies or banana peels in storage facilities end up looking the same. There is a whole system of defragmentation, decomposition, sampling and waste disposal that involves technology, time and a lot of money. That is why it is advisable to do differentiating upstream, at home. Because this is where the real savings happen. But this is a cultural rather than an administrative process, even if the public administration has to press more forcefully to create a civic awareness of rejection. Which is still light years away here.

And while we cannot do separate collection, we ask ourselves whether and how all waste can be disposed of immediately. An emergency situation, as always, leads to adventurous hypotheses and solutions. These days, we’ve collected one that has us very curious: “Why don’t we dump waste in volcanoes?”. in which? We may argue: in Vesuvius, in Stromboli or perhaps in Etna! A large natural incinerator that would avoid embarrassing our politicians to build a waste-to-energy plant…

Reality or a big joke? We did not stop at the curiosity of the question, not even in the superficiality of the internal answer. We went in search of a definitive, scientific, and timely answer. This was provided by the experts of GeoPop, a much appreciated and followed scientific information portal.

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Is littering a volcano a good idea? number! no thing It’s a silly question, but a lot of people ask it. Even if the answer seems useless to many, let’s try to understand it From a scientific point of view why this solution is not possible and what could be the possible consequences. Throwing trash in volcanoes is a bad idea! Let’s see what are the main problems in Throwing our waste into volcanoesattempting to understand why this practice has not been adopted and why, even in the future, it is unlikely to be taken into account.

Lava lakes are not everywhere

In the collective imagination inside the volcanic craters there”lava lake shining‘And full of bubbles. Well, unfortunately this picture – however suggestive – does not correspond to reality. There are few volcanoes in the world that have a permanent lake of lava on their summit: in most cases, there is blocked channel or spill Lava of fractures. From here it is already clear how “Throwing trash outside“In lava lakes it is a complex solution. In addition, some lava lakes form on their surface a layer of a solid substance, a kind of ‘crust’ that makes it more difficult to get rid of garbage of various kinds.

Not all lava is created equal

We admit, ridiculously, that all volcanoes have a lava lake at their summit. In this case, we will still have problems, because they exist Many types of lava With temperatures that can range from 700 to 1200 degrees. Temperatures are usually reached in an incinerator between 1000 And the 1200°C So as to make sure that correct combustion For all kinds of waste. If the temperature is lower, only partial combustion will occur, which contributes to the release of huge amounts of pollutants – in addition to the fact that in the event of a volcanic eruption, all these pieces of waste will be dumped into the surrounding area.

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Environmental pollution

Still thinking absurdly, let’s imagine not only that every volcano has a lava lake, but every volcano reaching a temperature similar to that of modern incinerators. If we throw garbage inside it, we will create a chain of Toxic fumes They contain lead, mercury, metals and acid gases, to name a few. It is clear that their composition will vary according to the type of waste that is dumped into the volcano, but in any case it will be very unhealthy substances. Usually all these toxic substances are stopped by incinerators thanks to special substances filter systems But in the case of a volcano, these will obviously be absent and various pollutants will immediately go into the atmosphere, causing great harm to the surrounding environment.

Other cases

What we saw might have been the three main issues, but there are many others. Another, for example, is that in the case of eruption The practice of littering can be fatal to all workers. And again, given that for some populations, volcanoes are considered sacred This is for some countries Important tourist attractions Within natural parks, that would not be possible. In short, no matter how you look at it, this solution “removes lava” from all sides!

(Source Stefano Gandeli, GeoPop)