In Kivalina each household is responsible for collecting its own waste and bringing it to a 3.4 acre dump site, located just north of the airport. There is no separation system in the city. All solid and human waste ends up at a non-managed landfill. Although seeing a lot of the residents disposing their waste to the landfill, garbage is pilling up around the city, human waste spilling out of the plastic bags.
See Google Map for Location of Landfill
The “Kivalina Consensus Building Report” mentions that the dump located next to the airport is a safety issue and quotes the FAA who requires a 5,000 feet separation between landfills and airports: “The close proximity to the airport raises safety concerns for aircraft because it is an attractive nuisance for birds.”
Human Waste: The people of Kivalina are using “Honeybuckets“. These are plastic buckets with a toilet seat. The human waste goes to a plastic bag that is being exchanged when full. See: How to empty a Honeybucket
Although some residents referred to a metal tank for the human waste, it was not possible to detect any waste separation during the site-visit of the dump on September, 1st, 2012 neither in the metal tank nor the surrounding area. Though this can be a result of the most recent flood caused by a storm in mid August 2012 when water spilled into the dump site creating a further threat to the drinking water access of Kivalina and therefore to the health of its residents.
Solid Waste: There is no waste separation system in Kivalina. We learned that until June 2012 there was a can and battery collection/recycling system in place which did not continue. Stanley Hawley, IRA Council Administrator who represents the tribe in Kivalina says: “We got no environmental training attendance.” As sponsors he names the US Environmental Protection Agency, small donors, the State of Alaska, L-Can recycling company, Maniilaq and Teck Mining Company. The collected items where shipped out, the transportation costs were taken over by L-Can. “The project stopped when the appointed local coordinator found another job,” Stanley mentions.