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Component One

The problem, Component One, describes the focus of Mission: Incredible which is hazardous waste. Component One, details where our problem is and its effect on these areas both economically and physically.

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The problem

Why it's important

Where it's a problem and how it affects people

How it affects the economy

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The problem:

Disposition of hazardous waste, including radioactive reactor fuel, plutonium, is a world wide problem. It is a problem that is affecting the world's populations because the chemicals we bury underground are silently entering our ecosystems.

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Why it's important:

We believe that too many things in our lives rely on the production of chemicals and their harmful by-products. Though we are aware that we can not stop the production of plastics, electronics, clothing, furniture, buildings, appliances, etc., we must find a safer way to produce these products. In addition, we need to make more people aware of the hazardous waste that has already been produced, for it is a more serious problem than most realize.
 
As our future unfolds into the new millennium, we have only one wish: to be able to achieve our dreams. If the amount of hazardous waste continues to remain at its present rate, we are not sure that we will fulfill our hopes for the future.
 
Mission: Incredible's goal is to use autonomous robotic devices to detect and aid in the disposal of hazardous waste, including nuclear waste. By creating small, mechanical robots, we can detect hazardous waste safely, quickly, and more efficiently. We can determine how much waste there is, what chemicals the waste consists of, how it can harm people, and what it has contaminated. In doing this, we hope to help the desperate search for ideas to save many lives, as well as improve the hazardous conditions in which we may be living.

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Where it's a problem and how it affects people:

There are hundreds of hazardous waste sites across the United States of America. One of the most local sites on the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Bourne, Cape Cod. The problem lies beneath three local schools, where their water, soil, and possibly air has been contaminated. Despite this issue, the students still must attend the school. Due to lack of resources, and support from the town, the desperate search for forty million dollars to relocate the schools seems impossible. The conditions were so unhealthy at one school, students were forced to relocate to another district, posing the problem of overcrowding. For example, some seventh grade classes at Lyle Middle School are now held in the converted shower room with tile walls, and music classes are taught on a narrow strip between the auditorium and the cafeteria. So, not only is this problem dangerous, but it is costly and inconvenient as well. The parents whose children still attend the 'contaminated schools' worry about the water, air, and soil everyday. Parents are torn between the decision of whether children have their health or an education? One women, Lindy McAra, gives her opinion on the conditions, as stated in the October 22, 1997 issue of Education Week. "It's a sad state of mind to say, oh kids, have fun at the Superfund site today. I think I'm going to regret this decision twenty years from now, and that is a fear I'd rather live without."
 
Another contaminated area in the United States is the Niagara River. As a result on the 102nd Street Landfill, it has a heavy concentration of petrochemical waste on its shores. Little is known about the effects of the contamination on swimmers and fish consumers, however the New York State Department of Health has issued a fish advisory for the Niagara River. Other concerns are the possibility of first and second generation birth defects from the contaminants. The Love Canal, another hazardous waste site located just south of the Niagara River, has approximately 5,580 people living near this site. Clinton County, Pennsylvania, another hazardous waste, is contaminated with carcinogens of b-naphthylamine, benzidine, and benzene, causing the possibility of bladder cancer.
 
However, the problem doesn't stop there. There are over 1331 dangerous sites in the United States today, allowing over 41 million Americans to live within a four mile radius of these sites. Many people have experienced side effects such as: reduced height, liver and kidney disease, low birth weight, dermatitis, respiratory irritation, pancreatic and skin cancer, leukemia, spontaneous abortions, bronchitis, and arthritis. Scientists believe that these side effects are caused by chemicals such as benzene, or the the most common cancer causing agent, which also causes brain damage. For example, a picture of a fetus was taken with the brain outside its head.

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How it affects the economy:

Lastly, a hazardous waste site in an area affects the economy in many different ways. A decreasing population fleeing a contaminated site, affects business, real estate, and, in essence, it forecasts the end of a town. Farmland is jeopardized, and crop production comes to a halt. In the end, hazardous waste in your area might cost more than the demographics of population, schools, businesses, and farms, it might cost you your life, a high price to pay for something that could have been detected and stopped.

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