Turning waste into wealth: World Habitat Day focus on cleaning up cities

UN-HABITAT Lago Mayor de Chapultepec, Mexico City.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Waste can have a devastating effect on public health, the environment, and the climate, but cutting-edge innovation and technology can provide improved, cheaper solutions to the challenge, and help cities and communities to see waste as a business opportunity. This was the message marking World Habitat Day, on Monday, with a focus on waste management.

“We must reduce the amount of waste we produce”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement. “And, at the same time, start seeing it as a valuable resource that can be re-used and recycled, including for energy”.

Linked to the International Day, UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency for human settlements, has launched a “Waste Wise Cities” campaign, to address the increasing challenges of coping with solid waste.

As part of the campaign, cities are invited to confirm their commitment to uphold a set of principles. These include assessing the quantity and type of waste, improving waste collection, ensuring cities are environmentally safe, and implementing waste-to-energy schemes.

The campaign notes that dealing with waste eats up a significant proportion of city budgets, and that waste management is not being sufficiently financed. So-called “frontier technologies”, however, can provide cost-effective answers to the problem of how to clean up cities.

Examples include automation and artificial intelligence which, when used together, can help sort recyclables more efficiently. Smart packaging is another potential solution, using sensors to help reduce the amount of food thrown away, and innovative new technologies which can turn organic waste into renewable energy and compost.

The technology also provides an opportunity for newer, rapidly-growing cities in developing countries to “leapfrog” older cities, by taking advantage of the latest solutions and avoiding more established, but less efficient methods.

Using these tools effectively, said the UN chief on Monday, can help us to build well-planned and smartly managed cities, which can steer us towards inclusive growth, and low-emission development.

The potential benefits of frontier technologies for developing countries are outlined in the UN’s 2018 World Economic and Social Survey, which concludes that they can help the world to change for the better, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and address climate change.

The study also warns that the widespread introduction of these tools must be accompanied by appropriate, effective policies, to help countries to avoid pitfalls and minimize the economic and social costs of technology-related disruption.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Utmost hypocrisy emitted by EU’s energy regulation

Non-performing loans: banks need to mitigate the risk of potential losses

EU-UK future relations: “level playing field” crucial to ensure fair competition

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

On World Health Day, new report says the world needs 6 million more nurses

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

IMF: The near-term outlook for the U.S. economy is one of strong growth and job creation

Pharmaceuticals conceal drug side effects with the EU’s Court blessing

Madrid is banning high-polluting vehicles from the city centre

Commission makes it easier for citizens to access health data securely across borders

It’s time we harnessed Big Data for good

Resisting EU budget cuts

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

Balancing economic growth and the environment: lessons from Brazil

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

UN chief ‘alarmed’ by violations of UN-backed ceasefire in Libya

OECD sees global growth slowing, as Europe weakens and risks persist

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

MI6 chief calls for espionage 4.0 in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Madagascar: UN chief commends nation on first round of peaceful elections

Religious violence is on the rise. What can faith-based communities do about it?

COVID-19 pandemic: The war inside our heads

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

EU-Turkey deal on migrants kicked off but to who’s interest?

Four ways we can fix economics in 2019

How COVID-19 shows the urgent need to address the cyber poverty gap

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

These are the world’s best universities

EU Summit: Why was Poland isolated in opposing Tusk and the ‘multi speed’ Europe

Here’s how we make the internet safer for children

This start-up is making a palm oil alternative from used coffee grounds

COVID-19: Member states need to harmonise health assessments and measures

Violence against women a barrier to peaceful future for all

Public climate finance to developing countries is rising

How the technology behind deepfakes can benefit all of society

Four million Syrian children have only known war since birth: UNICEF

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

‘Act fast and do whatever it takes’ to fight the COVID-19 crisis, say leading economists

Germany caught with selfish double standards in euro area policy

Drought in Europe: Commission presents additional measures to support farmers

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

The Unspoken COVID-19 Vaccine Challenges — Distribution and Corruption

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol

NATO summit, Brussels, 11-12/07/2018

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

What lessons to draw from the destruction of Syria

How the world’s best teacher is changing lives in Africa

Financial abuse of elderly ‘rampant, but invisible’, says UN expert

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

UN official sees ‘unprecedented opportunities’ to make progress on peace in Afghanistan

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s