Legality of dropping things into a volcano

An intriguing idea for a business just occurred to me… but it would hinge on being able to drop various objects into volcanic lava whereupon they would be utterly disintegrated. What legal considerations could possibly impede the plan? Assume the volcano is situated in the most permissive legal jurisdiction, but I would not be disposing of any toxic waste.

(You are not my lawyer, I don’t plan to act on this advice, this is all just hypothetical/planning stages at this point).

Who will be your pilot? How are you going to find someone willing to go directly above an active volcano, and to go slowly enough that the trash will land on target?

Seemed to turn out (more or less) OK for Frodo Baggins, so why not?

If you don’t own the land the lava is on, and don’t have permission from the landowner (which would be some government agency for a park or other public land), then criminal tresspassing, and littering/dumping laws could apply. Also, you could well be sued by the landowner for causing damage to their property (and perhaps just for the tresspassing, too? I don’t know much about that).

Assuming you own the land, then I think it’s going to depend on exactly how various landfill regulations are written; pretty sure that taking other people’s household waste and disposing of it on your land (at least enough to make it a business for you) will be considered a landfill, and so you’d be violating all kinds of federal or state landfill permits and regulations (generally,in the U.S. there are going to be minimum federal standards that every state regulation must meet, so going to the most permissive state won’t help a whole lot).

Possibly, again depending on how the regulations are written, an environmental agency might make the argument that you’re running an incinerator, which would require air permits.

Then, and this is what I know least about, there may be state regulations over any business that handles waste – licenses, regulations and what-not.

Finally, disposing of certain things is going to have its own legal issues. Toxic waste (as you already mentioned), but also human bodies, medical waste, potential evidence for legal cases, and probably other things I haven’t thought of.

Don’t worry about the implementation, I’m just interested in the legal aspects. But I’ve actually been to a suitable volcano mouth that is walk-up accessible, so I know it’s possible.

I understand where you are coming from but trust me, there aren’t that many virgins left.



Can’t speak for elsewhere but I assume any and all active volcanoes in the US (those openly a-bubblin’ lava) are on government land where dumping your trash for profit is frowned upon.

Why the apology? Are you saying you’re responsible for that state of affairs?

Well, Chronos we are talking about Capt Kirk here.
I think he is probably directly responsible for the plummeting numbers of available virgins.

There are always quarries. :smiley:

We should walk up to the volcano and throw stuff in it.

Come on, you knew someone was going to say that.

ETA - Curse you, Zeldar!



I believe this is what the OP had in mind:

Volcanic Rubbish Incinerator

This particular volcano is in Ethiopia. I don’t know what the laws are there regarding waste disposal/dumping.

As for throwing stuff out of an airplane - in general, if the country has laws about operating airplanes, you probably need some sort of permission to throw things out. It’s not something generally permitted.

It’d be the same as burning the waste elsewhere and dumping the ashes in the volcano, which could very likely end up spreading those ashes over a vast area (via lava flows, underground magma channels, and, of course, eruptions). I imagine this would be worse than just dumping the ashes in a hoel inthe ground as this would take any toxic chemicals down below groundwater lvl without the natural filtration of soil and such.

So, you’d have air pollution regulations that you’d have to follow as well as ash disposal regs. Oh, and aren’t most volcanoes in national parks?

Yep, that’s what I had in mind. There are people whose whimsy motivates them to pay to name stars or have their cremains shot into space. I think it’s very possible that people would pay for a certificate that some unwanted object was dropped into a volcano (a picture of an embittered ex-spouse, for example).

McCoy: "What IS it with you, anyway? "

Oh nonsense—there are plenty of ugly fourth-graders in the world. I think the biggest problem the OP is going to have breaking into the waste management business is stepping on the wrong toes. Some boys from Jersey whose last names all end in vowels might want to have a little heart-to-heart with him.

That depends – do you have a braincloud?

The volcano gods will be displeased, and you wouldn’t want that to happen.

They will happily accept any remaining virgins you can round up, however.

True anecdote: I visited “The Strip” in Los Vegas once, and watched the public volcano show at The Mirage. It must certainly have been an oversight on their part, and I was disappointed, that the show didn’t involve throwing any virgins in. (I mean, it is just a show, after all. The actresses portraying the virgins wouldn’t have to really be virgins.)