World’s Top Environmental Success Stories

By Tom Randall and Eric Roston - 2012-09-18T01:07:59Z

Photograph by Scott Keating

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Toxic Waste

The U.S. program to clean up hazardous waste sites is known as Superfund. It was created by a 1980 law after the discovery of such catastrophic toxic waste dumps as Love Canal and Times Beach, which the EPA previously lacked the authority to clean up.

The 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global attempt to mirror Superfund efforts to stop toxic dumping. The treaty, ratified by 172 countries, targets 12 of the most dangerous pesticides and industrial chemicals that kill people and degrade the environment.

Pictured: the 58th Street Landfill in the town of Hialeah near Miami. Dade County operated the landfill beginning in 1952, accepting pesticides, paints and solvents as part of what grew into a square-mile mountain of garbage. The EPA cleaned up the site and converted it into a lake for wading birds, complete with walking trails and lookout centers.

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