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Re: What do you do with your garbage? Do you use landfills or something?


From: "Guy Guthridge" <answer4@passport.ivv.nasa.gov>
Subject: Re: What do you do with your garbage? Do you use landfills or something?
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 13:58:56 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: onair@passport.ivv.nasa.gov <onair@passport.ivv.nasa.gov>
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 1998 1:43 PM
Subject: What do you do with your garbage? Do you use landfills or
something?


>Tom  p. asks this Question:
>
>What do you do with your garbage?  Do you use landfills or something?
>
>
>Answer:
>
>The Antarctic Treaty has strict rules about how to handle garbage and in
fact all of the wastes that are generated by people who go there.

At McMurdo, the biggest station in Antarctica with over a thousand people in
summer, all waste except sewage is packaged, labeled, and sent out of
Antarctica once per year in the cargo ship that comes from the United
States.  We are very careful to sort the waste before putting it on the
ship, and as a result more than 70 percent of it is recycled after it gets
to the USA (better than twice as good as the US average).

The sewage I talked about is very carefully regulated so that it consists
only of human waste, washwater (sometimes called gray water), and moist food
waste that has gone through a garbage grinder just like in the United
States.  Laboratory chemicals and hazardous substances like used motor oil
are strictly prohibited from the McMurdo sewage system.  The sewage that is
permitted goes through a large macerator (grinder), is diluted with brine
from the desalination (fresh water making) plant, and then enters McMurdo
Sound.

I'm glad you've asked this question, Tom  p.  Waste allowed to remain in the
Antarctic would last a very long time because of the cold, and in fact you
can see some waste around the camps of the early expeditions that came to
Antarctica in the first years of this century.

Sincerely,

Guy G. Guthridge
National Science Foundation

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