300 Million Cubic Yards of Trash

In the past few weeks, we’ve talked a lot about the environmental consequences of Hurricane Harvey – flooding, pollution, chemical explosions. But there is yet another environmental problem that Houston will likely be dealing with for months… trash.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, more than 111,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. That means a lot of cleanup and unfortunately, a lot of trash. As part of its ongoing effort to report on the consequences of Hurricane Harvey, Environment Texas published a fact sheet this week that points to official estimates which predict that Harvey will leave behind 200 to 300 million cubic yards of waste. That’s enough to fill Houston’s NRG Stadium 60 to 90 times and it’s two to three times the volume of compacted trash landfilled by the entire state in all of 2015.

Compounding the situation is the fact that much of the debris could contain mold and asbestos, posing a harm to human health. That’s why officials are encouraging homeowners (and volunteers) to wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and respirators while cleaning out houses.

If you’d like to learn more about the environmental consequences of Hurricane Harvey (including first-person accounts from Gulf Coast residents), you can listen to the latest podcast from our radio partner Shades of Green above, or download it on iTunes here>>

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