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Landfills across England could be leaking harmful toxic ooze, warn experts

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Landfills across England could be leaking harmful toxic ooze, warn experts

Thousands of old landfills littered across the country potentially leaking toxic ooze and vapours are more likely to be found in deprived areas, our analysis of the sites from our new WATERSHED POLLUTION MAP reveals.

Thousands of polluted landfills across England could be leaking toxic chemicals into the environment and harming people who live nearby, experts have warned.

A few decades ago, the method for getting rid of industrial and domestic waste was to stick it in a hole in the ground, cover it up and hope for the best. It was known as “dilute and disperse” and it assumed toxic substances would seep into the surrounding soils, air and water and become harmless.

There are more than 21,000 of these “historic” landfills across England, with contents that are largely unknown. A report in the British Medical Journal found that 80% of the British population lives within 2km of a functioning or closed landfill site. The location of historic landfills and current waste sites can be viewed on a new pollution map published by Watershed Investigations, along with thousands of other potentially polluting sites.

In a second story, published simultaneously in the Guardian, we spoke to communities affected by both old landfills and operational waste sites.

 

This story first appeared in the following: THE GUARDIAN, THE GUARDIAN, THE WATERSHED POLLUTION MAP

Watershed - Investigative Journalism