Friday, January 04, 2008

Sustainability Update: It Isn't Just the Sea Level That's Rising .... The UN's International Year of Sanitation Begins

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Sustainability Update: It Isn't Just the Sea Level That's Rising .... The UN's International Year of Sanitation Begins

By Richard Power

The human footprint tells us that we have stepped in our own ...

The struggle for sustainability is not just about energy, water and food, it is also about not drowning in a deluge of our own refuse.

Consider two recent news stories -- one from Naples, one from the Volga River basin:

Citizens in Naples have started to protest against mounting piles of garbage in the street by setting them on fire. But the city has been in a "waste disposal state of emergency" for years. ...
Dumps in the region are overburdened or closed, and around 2,000 tons of garbage have piled up in the city over the past two weeks, according to Agence France-Presse. "Arsonists" in Naples started setting the piles on fire late on January 1, and firefighters were still dousing flames this morning. Many of those lighting the fires, however, were locals frustrated by the piles of smelly garbage on the streets outside their windows.
Protesters also blocked traffic for the second day on a road near a condemned dump which authorities want to re-open. ... The black market in garbage collection is the Camorra family's second-largest business, after drug trafficking, according to mafia experts. ...
The European Union also voiced its concern on Thursday over the Naples garbage situation, with EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas saying that Brussels could take action against Italy if the garbage crisis is not solved.
Der Spiegel, 1-3-08

A wastewater treatment project in the Russian city of Ufa is reducing the amount of raw sewage that flows into the Volga River basin. The project is part of a global push to improve sanitation this year - the International Year of Sanitation 2008. ...
Now, the municipal water utility UfaVodocanal is seeking to finish the work while at the same time reducing the environmental impact of the wastewater treatment process. With this goal in mind, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, has agreed to lend the utility 500 million roubles (€15 million or US$20.4 million) over the next 13 years so that it can invest in cleaner and more energy efficient technology. ...
Other cities and rural areas around the world are expected to undertake sanitation improvements this year to coordinate with the United Nations Year of Sanitation 2008.
The international year aims to highlight the need for urgent action on behalf of the more than 40 percent of the world's population who continue to live without improved sanitation. ....
The UN Childrens Fund, UNICEF, Tuesday officially welcomed the first day of the International Year of Sanitation 2008, saying that lack of proper sanitation contributes to the deaths of thousands of women and children every day from largely preventable causes.
Though more than 1.2 billion people worldwide have gained access to improved sanitation between 1990 and 2004, an estimated 2.6 billion people - including 980 million children - have yet to be reached. ...
A World Health Organization, report issued Tuesday finds that while coverage has been advancing in many countries, recent estimates consistently show the sanitation component of the MDG sanitation target to be off-track, with "a projected shortfall of 550 million people in 2015 from target achievement."
Environmental News Service, 1-2-08

See also UN Millennium Goals Update: Sanitation is Another Vital Factor in the Shift to a Vibrant Green World

For a directory of Words of Power UN Millennium Goals Updates, click here.

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