City Says Cats Keeled Over Dead, Kids Poisoned by Landfill

Moscow's garbage problem is imperiling towns around it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2018 8:47 AM CDT
City Says Cats Keeled Over Dead, Kids Poisoned by Landfill
This photo taken on Thursday, March 8, 2018, shows an aerial view of "Yadrovo" landfill site where a leak is reported to have originated, near the town of Volokolamsk, 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Cats that "keeled over dead" isn't the worst part of what residents of Volokolamsk, Russia, say they're enduring. The city is located 75 miles west of Moscow and has since the summer been on the receiving end of more and more of Moscow's waste—at their peril, say those who live there. The New York Times explains Volokolamsk's problem began when Balashikha's ended: Residents of the latter town complained to Vladimir Putin about the negative effect of a sizable landfill there, and so Putin ordered it closed—within a month, rather than the years officials wanted to formulate a plan on how to deal with Moscow's waste. That left roughly 1,000 trucks' worth of waste needing somewhere to go each day, and a landfill in Yadrovo, near Volokolamsk, was on the receiving end of some of it.

The Times explains the Yadrovo landfill doesn't currently have a system for capturing the biogas that's created by the rotting food deposited there; one is planned, but until then, the methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide vents through the soil and into the air. The AP reports things came to a head last month when 57 of Volokolamsk's kids were hospitalized after experiencing nausea and fainting—symptoms of gas poisoning. Radio Free Europe reports that after protests, officials announced new waste would no longer be taken to the landfill as of April, but the Times reports on the likely domino effect: that the waste will be carted to other landfills, spurring protests there. (An Alabama town is dealing with the odors caused by a train full of human waste.)

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