World Habitat Day - 1 October 2018
Today, 1st October, marks World Habitat Day. World Habitat Day is celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on towns and cities, and the basic human right to adequate shelter.
The day is used to promote sustainable urban development practices and encourage communities to recognise the role they have in shaping their city.
The theme for this year’s World Habitat Day is ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management’ to draw attention to the increasing amount of waste produced globally.
In 2010 it was estimated that 0.8 kilograms of waste is produces every day by every person in the world. By 2025 it is predicted that global yearly waste will reach 5.9 billion tonnes. The rapid increase in waste will be due to increased consumption and poor waste management strategies.
The need for responsible sold waste management systems is reflected across a number of the Sustainable Development Goals: SDG’s 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 17.
Solid waste costs local authorities a large portion of their budget and poor collection and disposal can create serious health problems, from damp, waste burning and pollution. Poor waste management can cause flooding and water pollution, a breeding ground for rodents and disease.
Developing countries often have inadequate waste management systems due to limit budgets, poor awareness and poor governance. As a result waste is often burned, creating pollution.
Developing countries also face the challenge of rapid urbanisation where suitable sites for sanitary landfill are becoming scarce due to land prices and community objection.
Towns and cities are often required to spend up to 70% of their budgets on waste management. However, it is a low priority for development finance institutions with only 0.3% of global development finance reserved for solid waste management in 2012.
Today the UN are calling for a change in public attitudes to minimise waste, the reduction of informal waste pickers increased recycling, increased funding and better planning to transform cities into ‘Waste-Wise Cities’.
World Habitat Day forms part of ‘Urban October’, a month of meetings, discussions and events on urban issues and sustainable development organised by the UN.
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Image credit: United Nations