Mexico, Brazil and South Korea’s all claim to possess the world’s largest landfill. We’re not sure why they want the title.
The manager of Mexico’s Bordo Poniente says that the landfill beats South Korea’s Sudokwon Landfill in terms of surface area, but is a little behind in volume received.
The 3,000 scavengers going through the trash at Rio de Janiero’s Jardim Gramacho landfill, the third contender, are the subject of this year’s Oscar nominated documentary Waste Land. They collect around 200 tons of recyclable material per day.
The largest in the US by daily tons of trash received is Las Vegas’ Apex landfill, which narrowly beats Los Angeles’ Puente Hills according to Waste & Recycling News.
However, we say the largest in the world is the Pacific Trash Vortex or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where broken down plastic floating beneath the surface accumulates in the north central Pacific Ocean.
This list, while not exhaustive, includes garbage dumps with the largest area, mass, human scavengers and toxicity to humans.
The Newton County Landfill Partnership in Indiana, with just 250 acres, got a little under 3 million tons of trash in 2008, the third largest tonnage in the country.
Olusosun, the largest dump site in Lagos, Nigeria, is home to a thousand scavengers on 100 acres that get 6,600 tons of trash a day.
The Deonar landfill in India, open since 1927, is Mumbai's oldest dump site. It processes 2,200 tons a day on over 300 acres.
The Laogang Landfill, the largest municipal dumping ground in China, gets 7-9,000 tones a day, around 70% of Shanghai's trash. The over 1000 acre site has been building dams to expand towards the ocean.
Since 1970, Puente Hills Landfill in the Los Angles County has received 115 million tons of trash, and got around 9,000 tons per day during 2008.
The Apex Regional Landfill north of Las Vegas, where 9,000 tons of trash are added every day to the dump's 50 million tons.
Jardim Gramacho, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is home to around 3,000 divers. It's one of three landfills claiming to be the world's largest.
Mexico City's Bordo Poniente, another contender for the top spot, has 76 million tons of trash and takes in over 12,000 tons a day.
The Sudokwon Landfill in South Korea takes up around 5,000 acres. 18,000 tons come in daily from Seoul to the site.
The real winner, though, is the Pacific Trash Vortex, a patch of plastic particles floating in the north central Pacific Ocean, estimated to be between the size of Texas and the US, but not visible from satellite.
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