GRE Argument Essay 92
The following appeared in a memo from the mayor of the town of West Egg.
“Two years ago, our consultants predicted that West Egg’s landfill, which is used for garbage disposal, would be completely filled within five years. During the past two years, however, town residents have been recycling twice as much aluminum and paper as they did in previous years. Next month the amount of material recycled should further increase, since charges for garbage pickup will double. Furthermore, over ninety percent of the respondents to a recent survey said that they would do more recycling in the future. Because of our residents’ strong commitment to recycling, the available space in our landfill should last for considerably longer than predicted.”
The mayor of the town West Egg asserts that the space available in West Egg’s landfill for garbage disposal would last for a time period longer than the five years that were predicted two years ago. He provides three assumptions in support of the assertion made by him. Firstly, the recycling of aluminum and paper by the town residents has doubled in the past two years. Secondly, the amount of material to be recycled will presumably increase as the charges for garbage pickup will double up from the coming month. Lastly, as per the results of a recent survey, more than ninety percent of the participants claimed that they will be increasing their recycling efforts in the future. Despite the assumptions made in its support, the argument fails to convince the reader that the assertion made is well balanced and reasonable.
It is not necessary that aluminum and paper are the only waste materials that will be dumped at the landfill. The argument makes no mention of the other types of waste materials like plastic and rubber. If these types of waste materials are not being recycled, then they are bound to be dumped at West Egg’s landfill and they will obviously contribute to the filling up of the available space. Therefore, the contention that the increase in recycling of aluminum and paper will make a huge difference to the filling up of the landfill cannot be considered as reasonable.
The arguer makes the assumption that the increase in the charges for garbage pickups will lead to an increase in the amount of waste materials being recycled by the residents. However, the arguer fails to provide adequate proof that can prove beyond doubt that a majority of the residents of West Egg will resort to recycling garbage by themselves in order to avoid paying higher charges for garbage pickups. Additionally, the arguer has not addressed the issue wherein the residents would have to find some way of disposing waste materials that cannot be recycled. In such a case, they will be forced to avail the facility of garbage pickup and hence, they may lose interest in attempting to recycle some of the garbage themselves as they would already be paying to get the remaining garbage disposed. Therefore, this assumption fails to support the assertion that an increase in the garbage pickup rates would lead to a greater amount of garbage being recycled by the residents themselves.
The evidence provided by the arguer in the form of the results of a recent survey does not stand on firm ground as there is no mention of the statistics related to the ninety percent of people who are keen on recycling garbage in the future. There is no indication of the proportion of people among these ninety percent who are already recycling waste materials. If a majority of these ninety percent people are already recycling garbage, then their committing to recycle garbage in the future would make no major difference to the rate at which the available space at the landfill would get filled as compared to what had been calculated two years ago. Moreover, with the passage of time, there is bound to be an increase in the town’s population and the additional people will add waste materials to the garbage being dumped at the landfill. The perspective of these people has not been included in the survey and therefore, the results of the survey do not hold good for predicting that the available space at the landfill will last for longer than five years.
Therefore, no evidence provided by the arguer supports the assertion made in the argument. The argument could have been substantiated better if the arguer had provided tangible evidence to prove that there will be a significant increase in the amount of waste materials being recycled and this would make a huge difference to the depletion of the available space at West Egg’s landfill resulting in its lasting for more than the predicted five years.