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When asked to think of the largest man made structure people will invariably come up with an answer like The Great Wall of China the Great Pyramids or the Taj Majal In contrast to these striking achievements of mankind is the Durham Road Landfill outside San Francisco which occupies over seventy million cubic feet It is a sad monument to the excesses of modern society Gore 151 One must think this huge reservoir of garbage must be the largest thing ever produced by human hands then Unhappily this is not the case The Fresh Kills Landfill located on Staten Island is the largest landfill in the world It sports an elevation of 155 feet an estimated mass of 100 million tons and a volume of 29 billion cubic feet In total acreage it is equal to 16000 baseball diamonds Miller 526 By the year 2005 when the landfill is projected to close its elevation will reach 505 feet above sea level making it the highest point along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine At that height the mound will constitute a hazard to air traffic at Newark airport Rathje 3-4 The area now encompassed by the Fresh Kills Kills is from the Dutch word for creek Landfill was originally a tidal marsh In 1948 New York City planner Robert Moses developed a highly praised project to deposit municipal garbage in the swamp until the level of the land was above sea level A study of the area predicted the marsh would be filled by the year 1968 He then planned to develop the area building houses and attracting light industry over the landfill The Fresh Kills Landfill was originally meant to be a conservation project that would benefit the environment The mayor of New York City issued a report titled The Fresh Kills Landfill Project in 1951 which stated in part that the project cannot fail to affect constructively a wide area around it
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