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  • Okay, humans, we make a lot of garbage, and we don't have any perfect solutions for what to do with it.

  • So, instead of just putting it under the ground, why don't we just throw it into the volcanoes?

  • Well, as convenient as burning our trash into oblivion might sound, a couple of major reasons to consider.

  • For one thing sending all that trash to the nearest active Volcano could get pretty expensive, especially because

  • lots of places are thousands of kilometers away from a volcano

  • while most cities send their trash tens or hundreds of kilometres to landfills. Some cities also burn

  • a lot of their trash in incineration plants and use that heat to make electricity,

  • so electric bills could go up if we started using volcanoes instead.

  • But different places already handle trash differently, so why don't cities near volcanoes

  • just use them as big flaming trash piles?

  • Well, cost isn't the only problem here.

  • Volcanoes aren't usually the bubbling pits of exposed lava that you see in movies and cartoons.

  • Many volcanoes just look like mountains or hills with a crater near the top

  • and if the craters are filled with anything, liquid water is more common than a lava lake.

  • So you would have to wait for those kinds of volcanoes to erupt and then drop your trash in,

  • which is incredibly dangerous; lots of those eruptions can be pretty violent.

  • Or you can try to drill down into a Volcano's magma chamber,

  • where the Molten rock sits under lots of pressure until eruption.

  • Given how hard it is to predict what exactly will flip a volcano's switch,

  • drilling down into that super pressurized chamber or shooting trash into the magma

  • probably aren't great ideas either.

  • Other kinds of volcanoes like Kilauea in Hawaii have pretty constant calm lava flows.

  • But even though slow-moving lava might seem like a safer and easier way to get rid of garbage,

  • there is another big issue.

  • Clumps of organic matter like food scraps don't just burn when they hit lava, they explode.

  • Very sadly there is little research into why these explosions happen,

  • but there are plenty of experiments and YouTube videos

  • that show pretty clearly that they do,

  • which does not mean that you should, like, give it a try for fun.

  • The most likely explanation is that any water in the trash immediately boils when it hits some thousand-degree molten lava.

  • That steam expands, forcing the trash and lava out of the way to create an explosive fountain of molten rock.

  • But we don't know for sure, so get on it science!

  • What we do know is that with your average american generating a couple of kilograms of trash a day,

  • that would be a lot of exploding lava.

  • Not to mention the stuff that probably wouldn't explode, like plastic,

  • tends to give off dangerous fumes when burned, which is a whole other problem.

  • So even if you live near an active volcano and even if there's lava at the surface and even if it sounds kind of cool,

  • don't use it as your garbage disposal. A controlled science experiment or two may be fine

  • but tons of trash creating noxious lava fountains, not so much.

  • Thanks to our Patreon patrons for asking. If you would like to learn more about trash,

  • you can check out our video on how we dealt with it over time a hundred percent without volcanoes.

  • *SciShow Jingle*

Okay, humans, we make a lot of garbage, and we don't have any perfect solutions for what to do with it.

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