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Heavy Equipment: Bringing Life Back from Natural Disasters

The tsunami that hit Japan last March was one of the most destructive natural disasters ever to occur in modern times. Aside from rebuilding the areas hit, one of the largest tasks was cleaning up the sheer magnitude of waste materials generated. This is where heavy equipment and heavy equipment trained operators come into play.

Most people don’t realize just how much there is to clean up after a disaster such as an earthquake or a tsunami approximately 70 and 180 million tons. The economic cost of debris management is substantial too. It is estimated to cost somewhere between $4.8 and $12 billion using typical waste disposal rates.

Heavy equipment is leading the way in rebuilding Japan. Almost every type of heavy equipment was and is being used to put order back into the towns and villages hit by this natural disaster. Clean-up would be impossible without bulldozers, excavators, dump trucks and other heavy equipment to push, pull and remove indescribable amounts of materials scattered across for miles.

Right after a natural disaster, the first concern is always restoring public health and safety. Then, the next step is always fast removal of debris while ensuring environmental protection – which is a challenge. The amount of work is exhausting and seem to never-ending. Steps include collecting of debris, determining what it is and if it is toxic, sorting and separation of the debris, possible recycling of materials, and then disposal of waste.

For the trained heavy equipment operator, he or she is part of the rescue team. Ask operators what is it like working at a disaster site whether it is in New York, New Orleans or Japan, and they’ll all say that clearing and cleaning up an area of destruction is challenging and emotional. They will also tell you that it is rewarding and life-changing.

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