Atop Garbage Mountain

I spent the afternoon traipsing around Southern California's Garbage Mountain with a crew from CNN, who wanted to talk about Garbology and see the nation's biggest landfill first-hand.

Garbage Mountain didn't disappoint: It was a particularly appalling day of wasteful excess at the Puente Hills Landfill. We watched as enormous trucks dumped huge loads of perfectly good cabbages and other produce, stacks of couches and mattresses, and piles of cardboard boxes that could have been recycled as packs of seagulls swooped and shrieked overhead. "This doesn't even look like trash! Why are the throwing this away?" one of the crew members remarked.

The dump contains 130 million tons of garbage 500 feet tall. If Garbage Mountain were a high-rise, it would rank among LA's tallest skyscrapers -- overshadowing MGM Tower, Fox Plaza and Los Angeles City Hall. One unfortunate side effect of the recovering economy: the flow of trash is returning to its pre-recession heights at Garbage Mountain.

I was being interviewed and playing tour guide for an upcoming episode of  CNN's new environmental series, The Road to Rio. Stay tuned for more details.