Every day, approximately 180 truckloads of Canadian garbage arrive in Michigan.

This massive influx of trash rapidly fills the state”s landfills, causes road overcrowding and leads to a precarious environmental situation. Especially troubling are the less restrictive standards for the classification of hazardous waste in Canada, possibly leading to the transport of dangerous materials to Michigan.

On Monday, Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus sent a series of letters to the city of Toronto and Congress seeking the cessation of this garbage importation.

While a 1992 Supreme Court decision prevents states from refusing waste due to interstate commerce regulations, the voluntary end of these practices will benefit both Michigan and Canada.

Michigan has long been a recipient of Canada”s excess garbage due to its abundance of landfills and comparatively low prices for dumping. This has lead to a number of consequences throughout the state, such as increased pollution from waste-hauling vehicles, strain and damage to road surfaces, a greater amount of time waiting at border crossings and the general ecological havoc associated with landfills and incinerators.

Batteries and other items that damage groundwater, while prohibited in Michigan”s trash, can still end up in state landfills from Canada. In Michigan, yard waste is separated for composting, while Ontario does not have a similar policy. Furthermore, Canada has not advocated as intense of a recycling program as Michigan.

These disparities lead to an excessively high amount of waste and toxic items in Michigan”s landfills.

The vast amounts of Canadian waste streaming into Michigan each day is an unnecessary environmental threat that, through careful Canadian planning or, more importantly, Michigan legislative action, can be averted.

The societal costs of placing dumps in economically impoverished areas is high and future generations of Michiganders should not have to pay the cost of maintaining Canada”s waste.

If nothing is done, Michigan”s landfills will become overfilled and prices will be driven up. This will hurt both Canada and Michigan. These reforms will soften garbage transportation”s effect on the environment.

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