Why Do We Need Zero Waste Cities?
With the rapidly growing population, people flocked to the cities. Currently, 54% of the world's population lives in cities, and by 2050 it will go up to 70%. We consume fast and cannot manage our waste well. Is this sustainable?
The need for an increased labor force with the industrial revolution caused people to migrate to cities. Besides, the rapidly expanding population and the need for consumption prompted us to produce more and use our resources quickly and without thinking. False waste management policies added together with rapidly growing cities such as cancer continued to reduce our resources further and reduce our quality of life. But a more effective method is available, zero waste. But why do we need zero waste?
With the traditional waste storage and accumulation system, garbage collected in large areas not only reduces our air quality but also affects our quality of life. According to the research, 2/3 of the waste in landfills is composed of organic and biodegradable substances, and the formation of methane gas by pressure and chemical reaction in the closed environment is a great danger. Not only does it trap 20 times more heat than CO2, but it is also the main driver of global warming, and the accumulation of methane in the landfill can cause massive explosions. In addition, soluble biologic substances leave unpleasant odors around the storage area.
It is just as scary that chemical and biological waste in landfills threaten our underground water resources with rainwater. Especially the contamination of stormwater with ammonia, toxic materials, and pathogens carries human health to dangerous levels. It is not only human health, but it is also possible that even if these rain waters are mixed with running water and lakes, it can even affect aquatic life. In fact, and even for those of us who feed on these creatures, there may be a health threat. So the pollution of our waters is a big enough problem to affect the whole cycle.
Chemical and biological hazards emitted by the wastes accumulated in the storage area not only pollute our air and water but also affect the soil quality we live in. With the addition of toxic chemicals into the soil, our arable land is also affected by this problem. This reduces not only arable diversity but also affects arable land use.
Storage areas close to residential areas are also not preferred by residential owners. Besides the ugly and uncomfortable appearance of the storage areas, the disgusting smells and bacteria it emits are the main reason why people don't prefer to live near the storage areas. In addition to its visual effects, the smell, sound, and vermin it emits can cause health problems. Increased diseases, congenital disabilities, respiratory disorders, and cancer among residents in the neighborhood, an apparent effect of the harms of storage and conventional waste management.
It is possible to get rid of these problems with zero-waste. If we try to reduce the waste we produce individually, or if we try to separate the waste we generate as high as possible and recycle it, we can create a greener, cleaner, and sustainable cities.