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When asked to think of the largest man made structure people will invariablycome up with an answer like The Great Wall of China the Great Pyramids or the TajMajal In contrast to these striking achievements of mankind is the Durham Road Landfilloutside San Francisco which occupies over seventy million cubic feet It is a sadmonument to the excesses of modern society Gore 151 One must think this hugereservoir of garbage must be the largest thing ever produced by human hands thenUnhappily this is not the case The Fresh Kills Landfill located on Staten Island is thelargest landfill in the world It sports an elevation of 155 feet an estimated mass of 100million tons and a volume of 29 billion cubic feet In total acreage it is equal to 16000baseball diamonds Miller 526 By the year 2005 when the landfill is projected to closeits elevation will reach 505 feet above sea level making it the highest point along theEastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine At that height the mound will constitute ahazard to air traffic at Newark airport Rathje 3-4 The area now encompassed by theFresh Kills Kills is from the Dutch word for creek Landfill was originally a tidal marshIn 1948 New York City planner Robert Moses developed a highly praised project todeposit municipal garbage in the swamp until the level of the land was above sea level Astudy of the area predicted the marsh would be filled by the year 1968 He then planned todevelop the area building houses and attracting light industry over the landfill The FreshKills Landfill was originally meant to be a conservation project that would benefit theenvironment The mayor of New York City issued a report titled The Fresh KillsLandfill Project in 1951 which stated in part that the project cannot fail to affectconstructively a wide area around it The report ended by stating It is at once practicaland idealistic Rathje 4 One must appreciate the irony in the fact
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