Global municipal waste growing
July 31st 2012
Growing prosperity and urbanization could double the volume of municipal solid waste annually by 2025, challenging environmental and public health management in the world’s cities, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online service. Although some of this waste is eventually recycled, the doubling of waste that current projections indicate would bring the volume of municipal solid waste—or MSW—from today’s 1.3 billion tons per year to 2.6 billion tons, writes report author and Worldwatch Senior Fellow Gary Gardner.
MSW tends to be generated in much higher quantities in wealthier regions of the world. Members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 34 industrialized nations, lead the world in MSW generation, at nearly 1.6 million tons per day. By contrast, sub-Saharan Africa produces less than one eighth as much, some 200,000 tons per day.
The list of top 10 MSW-generating countries includes four developing nations (Brazil, China, India, and Mexico) in part because of the size of their urban populations and in part because their city dwellers are prospering and adopting high-consumption lifestyles. Although the United States leads the world in MSW output at some 621,000 tons per day, China is a relatively close second, at some 521,000 tons. Even among the top 10, however, there is a wide range of output: the United States generates nearly seven times more urban refuse than France, in tenth position, does.
Read the entire article: World Watch
More on this issue: Overconsumption