Florida is experiencing a period of unprecedented economic growth. With more people moving to the Sunshine State than ever before, the population is booming. However, with increased population comes increased waste and, as the number of people grows, so does the amount of garbage being burned. This has prompted some residents to question the safety of the air they are breathing.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state burns an estimated 1.5 million tons of garbage annually. This figure has doubled over the last decade, largely due to the increased number of new arrivals. While some of this garbage is properly disposed of in landfills, much of it is burned in the form of municipal solid waste incinerators. These facilities generate energy from burning waste, but at what cost to local residents?
Studies have found that burning waste is linked to increased levels of air pollution and the risk of health issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and heart problems. For those living nearby, the smoke from these facilities can be hazardous to their health. In some cases, the very same residents who are responsible for generating the waste are the ones suffering the consequences.
These concerns have led some cities in Florida to take action. For example, Miami-Dade County has implemented a plan to reduce the amount of waste burned in their incinerators over the next several years. This comes after local residents raised concerns about the negative impacts of burning waste on their health.
Much like burning fossil fuels, burning garbage is an environmentally unfriendly practice. While it may generate energy, the short-term air pollution and long-term health risks are too much of a cost for the people who live nearby. It’s time more cities in Florida followed the example of Miami-Dade and took steps to reduce the amount of waste being burned. After all, when it comes to the health of our environment, every little bit helps.