Unseen Scars of Consumption: Mapping Landfills, the Monuments of Waste
Updated: Jun 14
Imagine the largest shopping mall you've ever seen. Now, picture something much bigger. Only instead of glitzy shops, you've got a mind-boggling pile of discarded clothing, a sea of old tires, and enough rusting cars and broken-down ships to boggle the mind. Welcome to the land of landfills, the less glamorous side of our buy-and-toss culture.
Fast Fashion Nightmare in Atacama Desert
Take a digital trip to Chile's Atacama Desert. Here, hills of unsold clothes gather dust in the middle of nowhere: a graveyard for fast fashion cast-offs. From this year's jeans to last season's t-shirts, these mounds are a harsh reminder of the cost of keeping up with the latest trends.
Google Earth: Giant Pile of Unsold Clothing
The Mega Landfills of Delhi
Take a virtual leap to India and get a load of Delhi's three enormous landfills - Okhla, Ghazipur, and Bhalswa. Like ever-hungry giants, they devour everything this bustling city discards. From plastic bottles to leftover food, they're the epitome of urban waste overflow.
Once upon a time, Ghazipur, in East Delhi, stood as high as the Taj Mahal! It's shrunk since then but remains a glaring monument to trash.
These three towering trash piles, swallowing Delhi's waste, give us a real-deal look at the side effects of city living and our relentless consumption. You can't help but question: is this the kind of cityscape we're leaving for future generations?
Google Earth: Ghazipur landfill
Cars graveyard in the US
In the U.S., Old Car City stands as a notable monument to waste. Housing a vast outdoor collection of 4,000 rusting cars, it serves as a tangible testament to our societal obsession with relentless upgrading. These once cherished vehicles, now surrendering to decay, paint a poignant picture of the cycle of consumption and disposal. This iconic site underlines the environmental repercussions of our continuous chase for the newest and latest, leaving behind a trail of obsolescence.
Google Earth: Old Car City, Georgia
A Black Desert of Tyres in Kuwait
In Kuwait, the Sulaibiya tyre graveyard is a stark reminder of our love affair with automobiles. This massive dump of old tires creates a haunting landscape, a black desert as far as the eye can see.
Google Earth: Sulaibiya Tyre Graveyard
An Ocean of Electronics in Ghana
Agbogbloshie (Ghana), infamously known as the "world's largest e-waste dump," is a startling landscape of discarded tech - from obsolete computers to defunct mobile phones.
Those scavenging here face harsh realities, sifting through dangerous waste for valuable metals, exposed to toxic fumes and hazardous materials.
Agbogbloshie tells a tale of short-lived electronics and our mounting e-waste issue. It's a wake-up call for us all to reassess our tech consumption and underscores the urgent need for effective electronics recycling. Google Earth: Agbogbloshie
These vast landfills, out of sight but certainly not irrelevant, represent the physical footprint of our consumption culture. They serve as colossal markers of our 'create-use-discard' cycle, offering a sad reality check in a world striving for waste reduction and resource recycling.
It's time we confront the everyday waste generated by our lifestyles. This journey through some of the (many) world's landfills reveals a typically overlooked facet of our economy. The planet's health and the legacy we're leaving hinge on our awareness and action.
We've manufactured so much in the past few decades. It's high time to capitalize on what already exists. Let's reject the idea of landfills and embrace second-hand shopping.
With Ganddee as your sustainability partner, you're in good company. Join the hundreds of Londoners using Ganddee to uncover local second-hand shops, making the shift towards responsible consumption and paving the way for a more sustainable future.