To What Extent Can Urban Areas Be Sustainable

1681 words - 7 pages

Urban sustainability is the idea that an urban area can be organised without excessive reliance on the surrounding countryside and be able to power itself with renewable sources of energy. The aim of this is to create the smallest possible environmental footprint and to produce the lowest quantity of pollution possible, to efficiently use land, compost used materials, recycle it or convert waste-to-energy, and to make the urban area overall contribution to climate change minimal. Therefore allowing the next generations and future generations to have the required resources without compromising them.

It is estimated that over 50% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas and that ...view middle of the document...

In the late 1980’s it was the first city to offer a wide variety of recycling services. Curitiba recycles 2/3 of its household waste this figure is one of the highest in the world. The recycling plants are made up of recycled material and employ people who find it hard to get jobs for example immigrants and disabled people, this makes the employees feel valued and it helps to improve the lives.

Colour co-ordinating teams collect the waste that has been separated in inorganic and organic waste. It is then sorted and sent out to other recycling plants to process. Cans are recycled at the fraction of the cost of producing new ones. There are also special teams, which go out and collect very large items, which would be too difficult and possibly expensive for someone to try and recycle themselves so would be fly tipped as a result.

The green exchange was introduced in Curitiba in 1990, this scheme was to encourage the poor to recycle their waste in return for food produce or bus transport tickets. This has proved to be a valuable service for the poor as they live in areas, which are hard for the recycling team to access. They deliver their waste to a waste station and in return for their rubbish they can be exchanged for bus tickets, food, and school-books, this system was a great success and saw Participation among Curitiba households reached 70% in the 1990s. Curitiba’s strategy turned waste into a resource, thereby unleashing a range of positives. The widespread problem of food security has been lessened, and city spaces are no longer covered with garbage – enabling not only better materials use but also reducing hazards to environment and health

Another example of an urban area that has various waste management strategies is York, England. Within York a recycling company called ‘yorwaste’ was established, they are a company who see waste a resource that, wherever possible, needs to be recovered, recycled and re-used and invest continually in the latest state-of-the-art technologies to facilitate this recovery. In 2014/15 they diverted 70% of all material handled from going to landfill. Furthermore from the waste they were unable to prevent from going into landfill they produced 53,355 MWh of green electricity from the capture of landfill gas, their landfill sites now have over 9.32MW of electricity generating capacity, this produces enough power to supply almost 20,000 households.
Admittedly this is a significantly smaller scale project to the Curitibia example as York only has a fraction of the population that Curitibia does but it shows that there are possible ways to help urban areas become sustainable in terms of waste management in MEDCs as well as LEDCs.

Another way that sustainability in urban areas can be achieved is through transport management, currently there are over 1.2 billion cars on the road and is expected to surpass 2 billion in 2035. With this large amount of car ownership and usage causes lots of major...

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