Decay now gives way to growth
-Louis J. Lombardo
|Map of Daegu Arboretum. Photo by Jace Lee.|
You don’t have to go far from Daegu to see other successful landfill retrofits. Once known for its flowers and as a site to grow vegetables, the small island of Najido in the Han River near Seoul became a landfill site in the 1970s. As the repository for the trash coming from a growing city, the site quickly expanded into a mountain of trash said to be 34 times the size of the Pyramids of Giza. After the landfill was closed in 1993, the City of Seoul installed 100 methane gas extraction wells to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help power the city. The 2002 World Cup brought renewed interest in redesigning Najido into an eco-friendly island. 2.8 million Square meters of former landfill were transformed into five differently themed parks. Today, the successful World Cup Park sees 9.8 million visitors a year.
In Hangzhou China, a company is turning trash into cash by converting an old landfill into a tourist attraction. Since it opened last year, over 10,000 visitors have taken a “trash tour” at the former landfill to see how methane gasses (which are produced by decaying garbage and contribute to climate change 20 times more than carbon dioxide) are being captured and burned to produce electricity. This methane capture process currently provides enough energy to power 8,000 local homes.
Cities in Massachusetts, USA are taking a different approach to producing energy from landfill space by installing solar panels on top of capped (closed and covered) landfill sites. In Canton, city officials plan to install 24,000 solar panels which will generate up to 5.6 Megawatts of power by 2012 (the state’s goal is to produce 250 Megawatts of solar energy by 2017). The town of Greenfield is pursuing a 2 Megawatt landfill solar panel project, whose power will be enough to provide electricity for 40% of all the public buildings in the town, including schools and street lights.
|Freshkills with a view of the city. Flickr photo by H.L.I.T.|