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Programs attempt to cut down on hazardous waste in Rolla

Audrey Roberts, Staff Writer

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Hazardous waste is any type of substance that could be detrimental to the environment. It contaminates our water, soil, and air. A common misconception is that common citizens can not get their hands on truly harmful materials. However, there are many household hazardous matters which have great effects. Jill Hollowell, an employee at the Meramec Regional Planning Commision, talks about a few of these materials.

“Something as common as a light bulb or fertilizer. These are things that people don’t hesitate throwing into the garbage. Light bulbs have different elements, like mercury in them. If they were to break, you never know where those harmful chemicals inside could end up,” Hollowell said.

Improperly disposed of hazardous wastes have an impact on the entire community. Hollowell broadly explains how harmful materials affect the environment and community health.

“When you think about hazardous waste and proper disposal, if you are not putting it where it is supposed to go, it has the potential of having a huge health impact. They have seen the results of that based on frogs and amphibians, which have become disfigured due to the chemicals that disrupt hormones,” Hollowell said.

The Rolla Recycling Center, which has a hazardous waste program of their own, is also concerned about the negative effects of household hazardous materials. Stephanie Dowdy, the recycling specialist, has her own unique view of the harmful chemicals disposed of improperly.

“It gets down into the soil, which then leads to the streams and spreads everywhere like a virus. It’s going to get in the wildlife. It’s like a sickness going into the ground.” Dowdy said.

The Rolla Recycling Center has many opportunities for people to correctly dispose of household hazardous waste.

“What we do is collect hazardous waste by appointment on Wednesdays, March through November. Its free to anyone who wants to drop it off, you just have to make an appointment,” Dowdy said.

Hazardous waste continues to be an issue in the Rolla community and almost everywhere else. This is a problem that local programs are trying to fix so that we can have a brighter future.

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Programs attempt to cut down on hazardous waste in Rolla