Essay topics: The following appeared in a memorandum written by the chairperson of the West Egg Town Council.
"Two years ago, 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, the town's residents have been recycling twice as much material as they did in previous years. Next month the amount of recycled material—which includes paper, plastic, and metal—should further increase, since charges for pickup of other household garbage will double. Furthermore, over 90 percent of the respondents to a recent survey said that they would do more recycling in the future. Because of our town's strong commitment to recycling, the available space in our landfill should last for considerably longer than predicted."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The evidences the chairperson listed to bolster his claim seem to be eloquent at first glance, but on close examination, they have some logical flaws which undermine the effectiveness of the claim, including the increasing amount of recycled materials in past two years, the survey they made to express the willingness of the public to recycle household materials and etc.
To begin with, the chairperson mentioned the increase of recycled materials in past two years. It would be more persuasive if the chairperson could also provide the demographic data of the town in past two years, as it is possible that the increase of recycled stuff is only a result of increasing population. With more people living in the town, more garbage will be produced and thus expedite the process of filling the landfill. Moreover, even if there’re more materials are recycled, it does not equate the producing speed of other garbage will decelerate at the same time.
Secondly, the assumption that higher charges for pickup of other garbage will raise the amount of recycled materials is unrealistic. As we all know, some of the household garbage like food waste is not recyclable. The rise of the pickup fee for this stuff may only increase the dissatisfactory of the public instead of encouraging people to recycle more materials. Thus more investigation should be done to figure out the current recycling status of the residents. If people have already had a good habit of recycling wastes and the recycling rate is quite high, the policy of increasing the pickup fee should not be imposed on the public.
Finally, the chairperson presented a result from a survey to support his claim, which is more than 90 percent of the respondents said they will recycle more stuff in the future. As the chairperson did not mention the detailed information about this survey, I have doubts on such a survey. It is entirely possible that this survey is conducted in an specifically selected community and it can not stand for the overall status. In addition, even if the survey is scientifically organised and the data is precise, the real situation could vary considerably, because many people tend to be too optimistic about their willingness to recycle.
In sum, the claim of the chairperson about the current and future recycling status in town need to be double checked with detailed information and investigation, including the trend the recycling status in past decades. In this way, we are able to draw a more precise prediction about the future recycling condition.
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