Overflowing garbage containers, landfill sites that are now mountain-high, not enough incineration plants, and wrong (or non-existent) recycling practices, these are the painfully typical problems of most cities around the world.
Probably with the only exception of cities in Sweden, where they have to import trash in order to keep their plants working, all other places are desperately trying to find ways to get rid of solid waste with as little damage to the environment as possible. But what are the world’s major metropolitan cities doing about it?
An international team of scientists recently published the results of a major research on garbage disposal of the twenty six megacities across the globe. The study, found in the Proceedings of the National academy journal, had the aim to quantify the impact of these cities on the environment and their importance in addressing environmental challenges on a global scale.
Sadly for the U.S., the lead metropolitan with highest amount of solid waste disposal, in fact nearly three times higher than the second one on the chart, is New York City. The followers in total amount of waste are Mexico City an Tokyo. This numbers do not take into account the population of the cities, although knowing that New York has 12 million inhabitants less that Tokyo, does not make the situation any brighter.
To make things a bit worse, New York City also uses more energy than any other megacity. In comparison to people living in Kolkata, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, an average New Yorker uses 20 times more energy, and disposes of 15 times more solid waste.
It is important for everyone to know that the 26 megacities around the world currently contain half of the world’s total population. This makes them the key locations where environmental policies and strategies should originate and be implemented first. Time to act now, before the situation has become out of hand- or has it already?
Image (c) AP