Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Day Story

Also known as the Five Points of View assignment in my capstone class, this one challenges us to create a viable photo story in a 24 hour time span.


Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Environmentally hazardous materials are those considered to be flammable, explosive or reactive, corrosive or toxic. Such properties are found in easily accessible materials like cleaning products, paints, oils and batteries among others. To combat pollution through improper disposal of such materials, the City of Columbia conducts a Household Hazardous Waste collection. Employees, like Eric Vann, take products out of participant vehicles and organize them for recycling.

Pat Danner and her dog Frosty wait patiently as Columbia Public Works employees remove items from her trunk. Danner said some of the items she dropped off had been sitting around her home for nearly 30 years. Improper disposal of hazardous materials is considered as pollution and poses a threat to human, animal and plant health.

Waste products are categorically separated: cleaning products, pesticides and paint find either wooden pallets or plastic containers. Due to the toxic nature of items collected, employees must wear nitrile or chemical resistant gloves to protect themselves.

In a storage room for toxic materials like batteries, lead, and mercury, bins line the walls for specific separation by employee Anthony Brown. Mercury, which can be found in thermostats for example, can produce severe lung, gastrointestinal and nervous system damage, according to the EPA.

In all colors and amounts, the most common item dropped off is paint. Reusable products like paint are collected, condensed and made available to the public for free pickup the following Monday. On a previous Household Hazardous Waste collection, an estimated 60-70 gallons of latex paint was dropped off by participants.

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