How Do Cities Manage Waste?

Cities manage waste in different ways, the biggest variation being that between first and third world countries. In the western world, waste is typically manage quite effectively with all waste being disposed of a and treated properly where applicable. However, the way waste is handled largely depends on its nature. That is to say, some waste is potentially dangerous and needs to be dealt with in a different way, separately from everything else.

Today, all of the world’s largest cities have complex sewage systems. However, in poorer countries, the sewage systems may well not reached the poorer suburbs which have to deal with waste manually.

Sewers have been around since ancient times and were indeed very famous in ancient Rome. During classical times, Rome had a population of about a million inhabitants, by far the biggest city in the world at the time. At that time, Rome also had one of the most advanced sewerage systems ever seen.

In many European cities, waste management dramatically declined and indeed it was only 150 years ago in cities like London for example, that proper waste management actually started to take off. In fact, the infamous period of 1858 in London known as ‘The Great Stink’ was one of the driving forces behind the modern rise of proper waste management systems.

During this period, it was a very hot summer and all of the city’s waste was disgorged into the Thames and the whole of London became absolutely unbearable. Shortly afterwards, it was decided that major work needed to be done to construct proper sewer systems and deal with the problem with drastic actions.

Today cities still manage waist with these types of sewage systems but other types of waste such as the source that we throw in are beings, is obviously dealt with in of rather different way. All of this is often sent into landfill sites. Landfill sites slowly degrade over the decades but only so extent are some things are not biodegradable. Landfill sites also have the major disadvantage of taking up an enormous and ever growing amount of space.

However, things are changing with various other methods of waste disposal coming in. When gathering all of the junk removal that you have accumulated, separate the items under the categories compost, reuse, recycle. Incineration is also a popular alternative and can also convert waste materials into something useful such as electrical power or heat.

Recycling is also becoming very popular in some countries. Around half of the waste that we produce on a daily basis in our households is perfectly capable of being recycled. This includes any paper or cardboard based products, tins, aluminium or glass. Indeed, in some countries it has already become law to recycle certain materials and place them in separate bins for the rubbish collections.

As the population of the world continues to skyrocket as does the population of the world’s cities, it becomes ever more essential to introduce more effective forms of waste management and upgrade to more environmentally friendly alternatives. However, while progress is being made, demand continues to grow at an alarming rate.